So much has changed during the COVID-19 pandemic, and many of us have chosen to stay home or skip things like haircuts and eating dinner in a restaurant. Missing a dental appointment isn’t as simple as skipping a haircut or learning to cook your own Indian food at home. Your teeth need to be cleaned and assessed regularly to avoid gum disease, tooth loss, and life-threatening cancers before they become an issue.
Although it’s necessary to get your regular checkups and cleanings, you might wonder what a dental appointment looks like during the pandemic, and you may be concerned about COVID-19 transmission while a hygienist works in your mouth for a significant period of time. Dental offices have learned to implement several precautions for both your safety as well as the safety of our staff, and we are happy to share some of these safety guidelines with you to help you understand what to expect when you visit us.
The CDC recommends that dentists screen both patients and employees for COVID-19 at all times. This means that in addition to checking temperatures and asking patients and employees to answer a series of questions to determine if they might be sick or have been in contact with an infected person, we also listen for coughing and other indicators that someone might be experiencing symptoms. That’s why you will be asked to stay in your car until we have finished our screening procedures.
Our employees are required to be completely protected before they even greet you. Your hygienist will be in a gown with a hair covering, eye coverings, a mask (and often more than one mask to prevent any potential transmission of saliva droplets), and gloves. You will also want to wear a mask until your hygienist tells you to remove it. Your will be asked to gargle a small amount of hydrogen peroxide for 60 seconds to protect our staff from your saliva while they work in your mouth. As always, instruments and equipment are completely sterilized between each use to ensure that patients cannot spread any type of infection between each other.
You can be confident that our staff is dedicated to making sure that you and your family will be safe when you visit the dentist – it matters to our health and the health of our families, too! We encourage you to keep up with your regular dental care appointments, and we also want to stress that if you are experiencing pain, loose teeth, or unusual sensitivity in your teeth, you should contact us just as you would for any dental emergency. While you may choose to put off elective procedures like tooth whitening, the health of your mouth should not be neglected. Minor problems that you ignore or choose to wait to ask about could turn into disasters rather quickly.
Our goal is to keep you healthy and safe throughout your life, and we want to encourage you to call us if you have any questions about or procedures or if you have any concerns about your mouth. We will be happy to discuss how COVID-19 affects your dental care and the way we help maintain it.