Viral infection. Laboratory. Doctor in a black mask. Dentist at the clinic. Coronavirus.
Are you over the age of 65 and/or have an underlying medical condition? If so, you are considered “at-risk” and most vulnerable to contracting COVID-19. If this information has kept your safely tucked inside your home these past few months, you may be concerned about how to move forward safely as businesses, retailers, and your dental office reopens. As states begin to ease restrictions and dentist’s slowly open their doors once again, there are a few questions you might be asking as to how they will keep you safe during your visit. To help put your mind at ease, allow your dentist to answer these 5 common concerns among at-risk patients.
What is the Best Way to Protect Against COVID-19?
If you have yet to venture outside your home since March, you are already doing the one (and most important) thing that will keep you safe from contracting COVID-19. While you might be going a bit stir-crazy, anyone with a weakened immune system, especially those in the elderly population, are instructed to avoid visiting with family/friends while the virus continues to pose a threat. This also includes limiting all public outings to only those situations that are necessary (i.e. shopping for groceries, doctor/dentist appointments, etc.).
Should you need to leave your home for any reason, it is strongly advised that you wear a face mask and gloves to better protect yourself.
What Should I Do if I Need to See a Dentist?
Depending on the type of care you need, it may be possible to postpone regular checkups and cleanings until a later date. However, if you need immediate assistance or require a more complex treatment to address a serious problem, your dentist is already implementing safety protocols to ensure the dental office you enter is sterile and germ-free.
Also, you might check with your dental staff to find out if teledentistry is a possible option, as this will allow you to remain at home while receiving beneficial care from your dentist via cell phone, tablet, or computer that uses a camera.
How Do I Know It’s Safe to See My Dentist?
Dental offices throughout the country are following recommended guidelines by the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC), the American Dental Association (ADA), and the Occupational Safety & Hazard Administration (OSHA). From increasing sanitation efforts to wearing personal protective equipment to some dental offices providing special hours solely for senior citizens, your health and safety will remain a priority. By ensuring all patients, no matter the age, follow the necessary rules for maintaining social distancing and practicing good oral and personal hygiene, your dentist can provide an environment that better protects against COVID-19.
How Are Dentists Ensuring Staff Remain Healthy?
Apart from proper handwashing techniques and implementing additional personal hygiene standards, your dentist will also be performing daily temperature checks on staff members to make sure no one is running a fever. If an individual is sick or displaying any symptoms associated with COVID-19, they are instructed to remain at home until they are cleared to return to work. This will prevent anyone from bringing potentially harmful bacteria into the office and infecting a patient.
Will Dentists Continue to See Multiple Patients at One Time?
In the past, it was not uncommon for dentists to schedule multiple patients within a short time frame; however, because of COVID-19 and the potential risk it poses to at-risk individuals, your dentist will likely space out scheduling to allow more time for each person. Not only will this minimize the number of people inside the dental office at one time, but it will also allow team members to sanitize and disinfect all surfaces, equipment, and dental instruments between appointments efficiently and effectively.
If you are still concerned about the steps your dentist is taking to maintain a healthy and safe environment for individuals like yourself, don’t be afraid to call and speak to a team member. Once they explain the process and protocols being implemented, it will hopefully provide you with additional peace of mind during this uncertain time.
Posted on behalf of Envision Dental