As we become bombarded by news of coronavirus infections in the US, some want to put off necessary dental treatment. Most rational people may worry that going to the dentist is unsafe.
With so much conflicting information about what is safe and unsafe, it is crucial to lay out the facts so you, as the patient, can make an informed decision.
So is it safe to go to the dentist? The answer is yes.
Thanks to the Centers For Disease Control (CDC), new guidelines are in place for dental practices nationwide. Here are some of the highlights.
The number one goal is to prevent the spread of the virus
It may seem obvious, but no medical professional, including dentists, want anyone to get the virus. So with that goal in mind, there are several ways dental professionals combat the spread:
When you call and make an appointment with us, our staff will ask you specific questions:
- Have you been diagnosed with COVID-19?
- Have you been around anyone who has the virus?
- Do you have a fever?
- Do you need emergency dental care?
- Do you want an elective procedure?
- Is this a routine visit?
All of this information is important for deciding where we should prioritize your care. In some instances, we may even have to delay seeing you, depending on your current circumstances. Please understand, the top priority has to be the safety and welfare of everyone.
2. We limit the number of visitors to our office
In compliance with the CDC’s recommendations, we are currently limiting the number of people you may bring with you to your appointment. Limiting the number of people in the waiting area just makes good sense.
3. We screen everyone who comes through our doors
Every person, whether a patient or a guest, gets their temperature taken. Also, some general questions about your overall health and how you feel may be asked at that time.
4. Everyone is required to wear a face-covering
All patients and their guests must wear some type of mask or face covering when visiting us. All staff and vendors are also required to comply with our face mask protocols at all times.
We never compromise on the principle of keeping infection rates down through strict respiratory hygiene.
5. We encourage personal hygiene
You may notice when you come into our office the visual alerts about personal hygiene. We have signs, posters, and warnings showing hand washing techniques and instructions on respiratory etiquette.
Top of mind awareness about the importance of personal hygiene is critical in the fight against COVID-19, not only for the general public but also for those who work in the medical field.
6. We encourage physical distancing
Appointments are scheduled far enough apart, so the waiting area is not overcrowded. We arrange the seating area, so patients are at least six feet apart from each other.
7. Extra precautions are taken around treatment areas
As with all medical facilities, the CDC lays out strict guidelines for the use of sterilized equipment. There should be no doubt that this has always been the case.
But since the outbreak of COVID-19, we take some extra precautions, such as:
- Utilizing special bins and containers for discarding protective personal protective equipment (PPE)
- Avoiding touching the front of the mask or face shield
- Avoiding any aerosol-generating procedures such as air/water syringes
- Ensuring that instruments not in use are put away to avoid contamination
These are some of the precautions dental professionals take to keep you safe.
What this all means for you
As you can see, your safety while taking care of your dental needs is our number one priority. We are taking every precaution to mitigate the dangers of spreading the virus.
The bottom line is, don’t put off your dental care. A minor problem today can quickly turn into much bigger problems later on.