As the country tries to return to normal, dentists are beginning to open their practices for non-urgent treatments again; that includes the regular cleanings and examinations for detecting and preventing cavities and gum disease. Of course, that means you need to ask yourself, “Is it safe to see the dentist again?” Read on to learn more about the safety guidelines that your dentist follows so that you can decide for yourself whether you’re ready to call and make a new appointment.
How are Dentists Keeping Their Practices Safe?
Even without COVID-19 to worry about, patient safety has always been a major concern for dentists, which is why they always follow strict protocols when it comes to sterilization. Not only does this significantly reduce the risk of spreading infectious agents, but it also allows you, the patient, to enjoy the peace-of-mind that comes with visiting the practice without needing to worry about your well-being.
Of course, while COVID-19 is still a factor, some additional preventive measures are being taken. Here are just some of the things that dental offices are doing to keep their patients as safe as possible during these unusual times:
- Team members receive daily temperature checks and must answer several questions regarding the current state of their health.
- Patients are asked to check-in from their cars; instead of staying in the reception area, they can go directly to their treatment room once the dentist is waiting.
- After every appointment, all instruments, equipment, and surfaces are thoroughly wiped, sanitized, and disinfected. A deep cleaning is performed every evening.
- Every patient must answer a quick health questionnaire, fill out a consent form, and undergo a no-touch temperature check when they arrive.
- Dentists, hygienists, and assistants must be double masked at all times. Face shields may also be employed.
Is Now a Good Time to Make an Appointment?
If you’re thinking of scheduling a checkup or another non-urgent treatment (such as teeth whitening or a procedure for a dental health issue that isn’t causing any pain), you should only make the appointment if you feel comfortable with the safety protocols that your dentist has in place.
However, patients that are suffering from genuine emergencies such as severe toothaches or knocked-out teeth should call their dentist as soon as possible. In that situation, you should mention right away if you think you might have COVID-19; symptoms include fever, cough, and shortness of breath. Special steps can be taken to get you the urgent care you need while also lowering the chance of spreading the virus.
Your dentist will do everything they can to protect your smile as well as your overall health. No matter what you decide, you can be comfortable knowing that your practice is completely committed to your overall well-being.
About the Author
Dr. Jeremy J. Borsky has spent nearly 15 years practicing dentistry, and during that time he has enjoyed transforming smiles and having a positive impact on his patients’ lives. As a member of the American Academy for Oral Systemic Health, he recognizes the importance of adopting stricter standards of care to keep patients safe from COVID-19. To schedule an appointment or ask about the new protocols in place, you can reach out to his Cincinnati practice through his website or by calling (513) 232-6560.