Dental Appointments During the Pandemic
Lots of things have changed during the COVID-19 pandemic, and many of us have opted to stay home or skip things like haircuts and going out for dinner. Missing a dental appointment isn’t as easy as skipping a trim or cooking your own Chinese food at home. Your teeth need to be cleaned and checked regularly to prevent gum disease, tooth loss, and even help spot life-threatening cancers before they become an issue.
Even though it’s necessary to get your regular checkups and cleanings, you may be wondering what a dental appointment looks like during the pandemic, and you may be worried about COVID-19 transmission while someone works in your mouth for a significant period of time. Dental offices like ours have learned to take several precautions, for your safety as well as the safety of our staff, and we would like to share some of these safety guidelines with you so that you know what to expect when you visit us.
The CDC recommends that we screen both patients and employees for COVID-19 at all times. This means that in addition to checking temperatures and asking a series of questions to determine if a patient or employee is sick or has been in contact with an infected person, we also listen for coughing and other signs that someone may be experiencing symptoms. That’s why you’ll notice that we ask you to stay in your car until we have finished our screening procedures.
Our employees are required to be fully protected before they even greet you. This means that your hygienist will be in a gown with a hair covering, eye coverings, a mask (and often more than one to prevent any potential escape of saliva droplets), and gloves. You will also want to wear a mask until your hygienist asks you to remove it. Your hygienist will ask you to gargle a small amount of hydrogen peroxide for 60 seconds to help protect our staff from your saliva while they work in your mouth. As always, instruments and equipment are fully sterilized between each patient usage to ensure that patients cannot spread any type of infection from one to another.
You can feel confident that our staff is dedicated to making sure that you and your family are safe when you visit the dentist – it matters to us and our families, too! We encourage you to keep up with your regular dental care schedule, and we also want to emphasize that if you are experiencing pain, loose teeth, or unusual sensitivity in your teeth, you should contact us just as you would normally for a dental emergency. You may choose to delay elective procedures like tooth whitening, but the health of your mouth should not be neglected. Ignoring minor problems or choosing to wait to ask questions about conditions in your mouth could turn into disasters rather quickly.
Our goal is to keep you healthy and safe, and we want to encourage you to call us if you have any questions about or safety procedures or if you have concerns about your oral health. We will be happy to discuss how COVID-19 affects your dental care and the way we help you to maintain a healthy mouth.