Have you been putting off your dental checkup due to COVID-19? You’re not the only one. When the coronavirus entered the United States a year ago, many of our plans – vacations, conferences, and dental appointments – had to be postponed until we got a grasp and understanding of how dangerous the virus was and how to mitigate risk.
A year later, we now have a vaccine and enough information to know how the virus spreads and how it can be contained. Provided that both the dentistry and the patients are taking the correct precautions, the risk of transmission is low.
Before you schedule your next appointment, prepare yourself with the facts. Below, read everything you need to know about visiting the dentist during COVID-19.
Is There Risk in Visiting a Dentistry During COVID-19?
In March of 2020, the American Dental Association called for all dental care that wasn’t an emergency to be postponed. For context, this was a time when there were more unknowns than knowns about how the virus affected the human body and how it spread.
Dentistry is essential healthcare. While putting off a six-month checkup might work as a short-term solution to mitigating fallout from the coronavirus, it is important that problems like cavities, tooth decay, gum disease, and other dental issues are addressed and treated early. For this reason, dental care has resumed across the United States.
Like any kind of interaction, there are inherent risks involved when people are in close quarters for extended periods of time. As COVID-19 is a respiratory disease, dentists and dental hygienists place themselves at a greater risk than the patients that they serve. PPE remains an effective method for reducing transmission, but it isn’t the only way that dentists are helping protect their patients.
How Dentists Should Prepare For Patients
Whether you’re going to a dentistry for a routine checkup, or need more serious treatment, make sure to carefully research how your dentist has made changes to protect you from the coronavirus. Before visiting a dentist, do your due diligence to keep them safe, as it not only protects them but their future patients as well.
At minimum, all dental offices should:
- Space out appointments to minimize transmission risk between patients
- Call you before an appointment to ask about your health
- Ask basic questions about your health, travel, and contact with others
- Install protective measures around waiting room and treatment room
- Expand sanitation measures
- Monitor the health of their staff, including daily temperature checks
- Provide staff with sufficient PPE, including face shields and masks
How We Protect Our Patients at Treasured Smiles
We value the health of our staff and patients at Treasured Smiles. To ensure the safety of both, we have created a comprehensive plan to minimize risk. Our protocols are built off of the suggestions and guidelines put in place by the ADA, the IDPH, the CDC, and the ISDS.
Check-in procedures will look a little different on your end. When visiting for your dental appointment, expect these changes:
- The day of the appointment, our staff will send you a COVID questionnaire that must be filled out and signed electronically. This can be done on a computer or on your phone.
- Before entering the office, patients are required to stay in their car and call the main office to let them know that we are ready. When entering the office, we request that you come in alone and wearing a mask. Your temperature will be taken at the door – any patient with a temperature over 100°F will be asked to reschedule their appointment for a later date.
- On entering the treatment room, you will remove your mask and you will be asked to wash your mouth out with a hydrogen peroxide solution.
- Upon exiting, acrylic dividers have been installed at the front desk to help you check out.
Aside from following all recommendations above, we go a few extra steps to ensure the safety of both you and our team. This includes:
- HEPA Filters and Novaerus Filtration Devices placed in every room to disinfect the air
- UVC Lights placed in the furnace to sanitize our central air system
- Lab jackets replaced between every appointment.
- Extra intra-oral suctions used to reduce aerosols during treatment
- All handles, keypads, bathrooms, and desktops sanitized between appointments
At Treasured Smiles, we understand that times are different, but that doesn’t mean that you need to neglect your dental health. We take every precaution to keep both our staff and visitors safe. If you have any questions about the procedures that we use, or would like to book and appointment, contact us today.