10 Tips On Going To The Dentist During Covid-19
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Covid-19 and Dentists
Since the Covid-19 pandemic started, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the American Dental Association have asked dentists to forgo routine and elective procedures instead focusing on emergency procedures. Now, some dental offices are opening up for more routine procedures: the cleaning you’ve been putting off or the cavity that needs filling. So, here are 10 Hygienist Tips.
A higher risk of Covid-19 exposure
Because Covid-19 is transmitted primarily by respiratory droplets and because dentists, hygienists, and patients are in such close contact with each other, the risk for contracting the novel coronavirus in these settings is higher than, say, in an ophthalmologist or dermatologist’s office.
Expect prescreening for Covid-19
The CDC urges dental practices to assess patients’ health before they arrive in the office. This includes not just symptoms like a fever or dry cough, but also risk factors like whether you’ve been exposed to someone with the virus.
Wait outside for your appointment to start
Official guidelines recommend that people generally stay six feet away from each other to avoid being infected. For this reason, you’ll likely be asked to wait in your car (or outside) until your appointment begins.
Limit the number of people going with you to the dentist
For the same reason, this is not the time to take the spouse, kids, grandparents, and extended family to the dentist with you. “Go on your own, if you possibly can. Pparents can escort younger kids into the office before withdrawing outside.
Practice proper Covid-19 etiquette and hygiene
Covid-19 etiquette involves covering your cough or sneeze with a tissue, immediately throwing the tissue away in the nearest trash receptacle and washing your hands. The dentist offfice will likely ask you to disinfect your hands as you walk in and when you leave.
Make sure the dental practice has sufficient PPE
At the very, very minimum, the dental office needs to be well supplied with PPE like gowns, N95 masks, face shields, and gloves. The staff should be all suited up as if they look like astronauts with gowns and gloves to limit their exposure.
Ask about other Covid-19 infection-control procedures at the facility
The CDC also recommends that dental patients be treated in separate rooms where possible—or at least areas with floor-to-ceiling barriers. The office should also be limiting the number of patients who are in the office at the same time.
It’s advised to wear a mask when you first enter (though obviously you’ll need to take it off later) as well as eye goggles that wrap around the sides of your eyes like in a pool. Also wear clothing that you can easily throw in the washing machine as soon as you get home.
Dental appointment times may be more spread out
To allow enough time for cleaning between patients, there may be fewer appointment times or longer waits between patients. The number of rooms, number of staff, and layout will all play into this.
Do you really need to see the dentist now
Just because a dental practice is open doesn’t mean it’s a good idea to get a routine procedure. If you’re someone who generally does a good job taking care of your teeth, it might be worth postponing.
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