Are You too Sick to Go to the Dentist?

When should you cancel a dentist appointment? The answer depends on the reason behind cancelling. If you’re sick, take a look at the questions below to ask before nixing your next dental check-up and cleaning.

Are You Sick or Just Tired?

A significant difference exists between an actual illness and fatigue. If you’re tired from a long day at work or didn’t sleep well the night before, minor fatigue isn’t necessarily a reason to cancel an appointment.

Even though sleepiness isn’t necessarily a reason to skip the dentist, in some cases you may need to cancel your appointment. Severe fatigue that isn’t the result of lifestyle factors (such as inactivity or poor sleep habits), inhibits your ability to drive or travel safely, or has a medical cause may require cancellation. Never put your health or safety in danger to get to an appointment.

How Bad Do You Feel?

Some physical ailments and illnesses cause minimal symptoms. If you don’t feel well, ask yourself:

  • Do you feel bad enough to stay home? When your physical symptoms force you to stay home from work, school, or social situations, you should seriously consider staying home from your dental appointment too.
  • Is this a reoccurring problem? Some symptoms are chronic or reoccurring issues (such as headaches or acid reflux). Cancelling an appointment now may mean you still need to cancel the next office visit due to your health.
  • Can you get through the appointment? If you feel well enough to get yourself to the dentist, sit for the appointment, and get home, it’s best to keep your regular dental visit schedule.
  • Can you open your mouth comfortably? The hygienist and dentist need access to your open mouth. If you have an illness that prevents this (or makes it challenging to breath freely through your nose), you may need to reschedule.

If you do need to reschedule your appointment, estimate how much longer your symptoms will last. If you’re at the start of a cold or know that your allergy symptoms typically last for a few weeks, avoid same-week or next-day appointment times.

Are You Still Contagious?

Your health isn’t the only issue to consider. If you’re contagious you could infect the hygienist, dentist, or office staff. What illnesses should you seriously consider cancelling an appointment for? Some of the most common viruses and bacterial infections include:

  • The flu. This highly infectious virus spreads via droplets when you cough, sneeze, or talk. Viral flu particles can spread up to six feet away, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). This puts anyone near you, including the dentist and staff, at a high risk.
  • A cold. Even though colds aren’t as severe as the flu, they also spread easily through coughing and sneezing. If you can’t stop coughing, feel like you’ll sneeze mid-appointment, or have a runny nose, cancel your appointment.
  • Stomach virus. A stomach virus can easily spread during direct contact with the dentist, hygienist, or other staff.
  • Strep throat. This contagious bacterial infection can make your dental appointment painful. It can also easily spread to the office staff or dentist. Most people aren’t contagious after taking antibiotics for 24 hours.
  • Measles.  Along with these common illnesses, measles cases are on the rise. If you have, or suspect you have measles, stay home.

Are you on the fence when it comes to whether you’re contagious or not? Talk to the dentist or office staff. Before cancelling your appointment, ask if the dentist prefers you to wait.

Do you need a regular dental check-up or cleaning? Contact Beck Pearce Dental for more information.