In response to the 2019 Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommended that dental practices should halt all non-urgent visits and instead prioritize emergency cases and surgeries. But as the need for dental services continues to increase, several clinics in some cities and states reopen.
If you are planning to visit your local orthodontist or dentist, know the necessary safety precautions and what you should do before you drop by the practice.
How Safe if Your Dentist’s Office?
You will always come into contact with germs when you leave your home. Still, healthcare workers and you, the patient, should follow specific safety guidelines. All dental practices implement strict guidelines in terms of handwashing and tool sterilization. Your dental clinic may also do more to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Such as:
- Clean, replace, and cover tools between uses
- Frequent disinfection of tools and surfaces
- Cover the patient’s mouth with a rubber dental dam
- Wear more personal protective equipment (PPE)
- Space out appointments
- Conduct a personal interview and temperature check before they check your teeth.
Considerations Before Visiting Your Dentist
COVID-19 is transmitted through respiratory droplets — aka tiny droplets of water that fly through the air whenever someone sneezes or coughs. If another person breathes these droplets in, they can also contract the disease. Those are fluids your dentist and their tools can easily come in contact with.
Many practices are not equipped with high levels of protection. Some of them do not have:
- Enough N95 masks
- Airborne infection isolation rooms
- Rooms for one client
Before you visit your dentist, ask about their COVID-19 measures. If they don’t have any of the above precautionary measures or you don’t feel at ease, look for dental practices that offer better protection.
The Changes You Can Expect
Before your appointment, your dentist’s office may call to ask you about your current health. They might also repeat these questions when you arrive to ensure that nothing has changed. You might also be discouraged from bringing more than one companion to your appointment.
Wearing of masks is still imperative. Wear your mask and stay outside until the dentist is ready for you. Doing so will reduce the number of people inside the office, as well as reduce the amount of time you’re with other people.
Once you’re in the dental chair, you might notice that your dentist has covered the computer keyboard with a disposable cover so they can easily clean them between patients. Your dentist might be wearing a different PPE from what they used at previous appointments.
After your appointment, the dental staff will thoroughly clean and sanitize the area where you’ve been. If you start experiencing COVID-19 symptoms within 14 days of your appointment, get in touch with your dentist. You might have been a carrier of the virus during your appointment; your dentist and the staff who came into contact with you might be at risk for the disease.
Regular dental visits are essential to your overall health, but today, exercise caution when visiting your dentist. Get in touch with your dentist first before you visit them.