While not directly testing against the COVID-19 virus, researchers at the Penn State College of…
Even though dental practices have been reopened for some time, many people are still concerned about whether or not it is safe to visit their dentist’s office. We’ve established that your oral health is more important than ever, given the ties between COVID complications and gum health, so you absolutely should see your dentist.
How do dentists prevent spreading COVID-19?
Dental offices have a good track record for their high adherence to infection control procedures, with clear guidelines in place for keeping the tools and environment clean and sterile to prevent transmission of disease.
Since reopening in the wake of COVID-19, additional procedures have been recommended by the CDC. Some of these include:
- Cleaning all surfaces of the exam room before each patient enters. This includes the chairs, countertops, drawer handles, and the like.
- Anything that might prove difficult to clean and sanitize regularly may have a protective cover put over it, which will be replaced after each patient.
- Any disposable dental tools are used for one patient and then discarded.
- Tools that aren’t disposable are sterilized after each patient.
- To protect the staff and the patient, the dental team will wear personal protective equipment or PPE. This includes gloves, masks, gowns, and eyewear. Disposable gloves and masks will be replaced after each patient is seen.
These are a few of the basic ways to help prevent infection, but there are also methods that go above and beyond the CDC’s recommendation. These include HEPA air purifiers, aerosol suction and filtration, UV purification lights, Hypochlorous Acid (HOCL) fog, and others, all working together to make the dentist’s office as safe as possible.
If you have any concerns about COVID-19 safety or would like to know more about the precautions being taken by our office, please feel free to contact us.
What should I know about going to the dentist during COVID-19?
Your oral health is directly tied to your overall health, so it’s important to maintain it, even during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Dental offices are doing everything possible to maintain safe, sterile environments in order to protect patients from the transmission of disease. With even stricter standards than ever before, there are some changes patients will want to be aware of before their next visit.
What should I do before my visit?
It is important not to go to the dentist’s office if you are showing any symptoms of illness. If there are any changes in your condition between scheduling your appointment and arriving at the office, make sure to let the staff know. The symptoms of COVID-19 are listed below.
You’ll be asked a number of questions to help assess your current health and ensure it is safe for you to visit the office.
You may be asked to limit the number of people who accompany you to your appointment, and it’s preferable that only one person enters the office at a time.
What should I do at my visit?
Be sure to wear a mask to your appointment. When you arrive, you will likely be required to wait in your car until the team is ready for you. This helps reduce the number of people passing through the office and cuts down on close contact with other people.
Your temperature will be taken to check if you have a fever.
You will notice that many items that are difficult to keep clean have been removed for your safety. This includes magazines and toys.
In the exam room, you will likely notice changes that have been made to make the area easier to clean between patients.
This area was cleaned and sterilized before your arrival, and will be cleaned again once you have left, making it ready for the next appointment.
What are the symptoms of COVID-19?
For your safety and the safety of others, it’s a good idea to be aware of the symptoms of COVID-19 and contact your doctor’s office to let him or her know you are experiencing them.
In the first two to fourteen days, these include:
- Difficulty breathing
- Muscle aches
- Loss of sense of smell or taste
- Sore throat
- Vomiting or nausea
If you are seeking help for any of these symptoms, make sure you call ahead to let them know that you suspect COVID-19.