If you’re heading into the dentist’s office for a checkup or procedure, you’ll likely find the experience much different from what you’re used to. COVID-19, or the coronavirus, has made it necessary for dentists to balance the need to provide their services and minimize the risks to both you and the dental staff.
Since social distancing is considered the best way to mitigate the virus’ spread, most experts still recommend you only go to the dentist if absolutely necessary. But some public health experts also worry that people might put off routine cleanings and other procedures that could prevent bigger problems down the road.
Here’s what you need to know about the extra precautions your dentist is taking and why it’s important you also wear a mask when you head in for your appointment.
Why Dental Offices Need Extra Precautions
Dentists, hygienists, and other staff members face an especially high risk of occupational exposure to the coronavirus. That’s because along with being exposed to a high number of patients coughing and sneezing, many of the dental procedures they use can result in aerosolizing the virus.
Dental professionals have added to their tried-and-trued precautions to minimize their and your risk during the pandemic. There are things you can do, too.
Why You Should Wear a Mask at the Dentist
As you prepare for your appointment, you’ll likely be prescreened by your dentist’s office. You’ll be asked if you’ve experienced any symptoms of infection with the past two to 14 days and whether you’ve had contact with anyone who’s tested positive for the virus. When you arrive at the office, you’ll be asked the same questions and might have your temperature taken.
The CDC has recommended chairs in waiting rooms be placed at least six feet apart, but many people choose to wait outside or in their cars until they’re called in for their appointment. Once inside the building, you will need to wear a mask except for when you are receiving care. Anyone who accompanies you to the office must wear a mask at all times. This protects both you and the dental staff from possible virus transmission.
Don’t Delay Important Procedures
Dental health plays a big role in your overall health so it’s crucial to have a healthy mouth, especially during a pandemic. Personal protective gear such as gloves and masks have been in use by dentists and their staff for decades. The added precautions your dentist is taking, including having you and other patients wear a mask, practice social distancing, and agree to be pre-screened, are there to help you feel safe and secure. If you have any doubts about whether you should keep an appointment, ask your dentist. It’s possible a cleaning or checkup can easily be rescheduled two to four weeks later.
Caven Dental is committed to providing our Jacksonville patients with the healthiest, safest, and most comfortable dental care available. To learn more about the steps we are taking to protect you during the coronavirus outbreak, schedule a consultation with us today.