It goes without saying that everyday life has changed dramatically since the COVID-19 crisis began. From grocery shopping to connecting with family, everything is being done a lot differently. And that includes dental visits! If you’re seeing a dentist for the first time and are wondering what to expect, this blog is for you. Keep reading to find out how social distancing, strict sanitation protocols, and more are being used to lower your risk of exposure and allow you to safely get the dental care you need.
Before your appointment, you may get a screening (either in-person, over the phone, or both) where you’re asked if you’ve experienced symptoms such as coughing, fever, chest pain, difficulty breathing, and a loss of taste or smell in the previous days or weeks. You may also have your temperature checked when you arrive in the office.
In light of the fact that COVID-19 can be spread before people show symptoms, social distancing has been found to be very effective in lowering the risk of exposure. This simply means putting physical space (6 feet or about two arms’ length) between yourself and other people, not gathering in large groups, and avoiding crowded places.
While you’ll need to be in relatively close proximity to your dentist, hygienist or assistant during your actual treatment, social distancing can still be used in a dental setting to keep contact as minimal as possible. This includes virtual waiting rooms where you wait in your car and communicate via your phone on when you can go in, limiting the number of patients in the office at one time, and spaced out scheduling.
Dental offices have always adhered to stringent sanitation practices, using guidelines from the Centers For Disease Control & Prevention. Now, even more protocols have been put into place, such as requiring all patients to wash their hands or use sanitizer when they come in, encouraging both staff and patients to practice respiratory etiquette (e.g. sneezing into a tissue), and requesting that patients use a face mask or cloth face-covering until their treatment begins.
The COVID-19 pandemic has changed everyday life in countless ways. Understanding how your dental visits will look different not only helps you know what to expect, but should also give you peace of mind that you’re staying safe.
Along with her colleagues at Shore Dental, Dr. Amy Valenti is committed to providing high-quality dental care in a safe environment. While her office has always made cleanliness and sanitation a top priority, they’ve put many additional protocols in place to lower the risk of exposure even more.