The COVID-19 pandemic took the world by storm, and 2020 is a year that most people will not forget. Routines to the dentist’s offices were put on hold from mid-March, and people had to stay indoors. Practicing dentistry was too dangerous as it could expose the dentist and the patient to the virus. However, all hope was not lost as in June 2020, dentists’ offices started reopening with the ADA Return to Work Interim Guidance Toolkit. This was good news for everyone as they could now access dental services. However, some adaptations were made due to the Coronavirus to ensure that everyone was kept safe. Therefore, your dentist’s office will not be the same one you remember; there will be some adjustments. Some of the changes include the waiting room spaced at least six feet apart and fewer toys or reading materials. You may be asked to wait in your car in some offices until it is time to be treated. If you are visiting the dentist for the first time since COVID-19 began, then read on for some key pointers;
Before the Appointment
Your dentist’s office may call you to enquire about your current health. They will enquire about any recent coughs or fever and if you have been in contact with anyone infected with the virus. This will help determine if you are a suitable candidate for the appointment. Once you arrive, you may be asked the same questions to compare with the others to ensure that there is no change.
The number of people to bring to the appointment may also be limited. This means that unlike before, where you could bring your close family and friends to the dentist’s office with you, you may now have to go alone or with one immediate family member. Also, if your child sees the dentist, you, as the parent, may need to wait outside during the appointment.
At the Appointment
You will be required to wear your masks when going in. Also, you may be asked to wait outside before getting in for your treatment to avoid risks. This will also help reduce the number of people in the office and interactions with others. You will also need to have your temperature taken once you arrive to ensure that it is within the safe range like they do at My Plantation Dentist.
The hand sanitizers will also be available at almost every entrance for you to sanitize as often as possible. Also, the toys and magazines will be reduced or none in the waiting room.
Once you get in the room, you will note that the dentist will be wearing protective equipment that was not being used before COVID. These include masks, goggles, gowns, and face shields. The face shields are crucial as they help prevent any saliva and blood-laced spray from landing in the dentist’s eyes. The masks help reduce the aerosols that the dentist breathes in during the procedure and limit those that could escape through their mouths. The dentist will also be less chatty than before to minimize the spread of the virus.
Some dentists have also started using a pre-procedural rinse to reduce SARS-COV-2 generated in the aerosols. This rinse consists of diluted hydrogen peroxide or iodine to kill microbial bacteria in the mouth. Most dentists are now avoiding ultrasonic instruments for cleaning teeth as they vibrate very fast, hence aerosolizing the virus.
After the Appointment
The rooms are usually cleaned and sanitized after every appointment using disinfectants effective against the spread of the virus. Some offices also rotate rooms per patient to decrease the virus’s spread and ensure that the room is sanitized before the next patient arrives.
If you have a dental issue, it is advised not to delay your dental appointment due to the Coronavirus. This is because these infections could worsen, yet the dentist’s office has put measures in place to ensure that you will be safe. If you start to feel sick a few days after the dental appointment, call the dental office as you may have been carrying the virus or got it from the visit. It will help protect everyone that you may have come to contact with during the visit. Therefore, schedule your dentist appointment today to maintain your oral hygiene. If you are still worried, call the office and ask any questions that may trouble you. They will help you calm down and avoid worrying.