Nearly every aspect of life has been upended with the coronavirus of December 2019 (COVID-19) and some things may never be the same. If the time has arrived for your regular dental cleaning, it's only natural to wonder if you should proceed as usual. Read on to find out what to do when faced with a routine dental visit right now.
- Check with your dental office – That will accomplish three things. It will tell you whether or not they are open as usual, allow you to make an appointment, and find out about any special precautions due to COVID-19. If your dentist will see you, find out about possible changes in the way you check-in for appointments. In some cases, patients must wait in their vehicles after checking in by phone until they are called for their appointment. In many cases, patient scheduling has been adjusted to allow for more social distancing protocols. That might mean waiting a bit longer for an appointment so call early.
- Expect to be screened at the entrance – If you've been anywhere lately you will be familiar with what it takes to gain admittance to some places of business. In most cases, your temperature may be taken and you can expect to answer a few questions about COVID-19 exposure and symptoms. Depending on local regulations, you might also be required to wear a mask. While inside, be sure to follow social distancing rules and stay away from other patients and dental office employees.
- Your dentist probably already practices excellent sanitizing protocols – Most medical practices have always been careful about infection control and sanitation. That is because so many illnesses and infections in a dental office can lead to more problems, particularly with those who are vulnerable. In addition to the usual measures, you might notice even more actions meant to prevent the spread of the virus. Don't be surprised if you see your dental hygienist in a face shield, thicker gloves, and more layers of scrubs.
- More cleanliness measures have been instituted – In common areas like the waiting room and restrooms, your dental office is likely paying a lot more attention to surface cleaning and sanitizing. Anything considered high-touch may be cleaned repeatedly throughout the day.
- Finally, you may notice your cleaning is a bit different this time. Since some traditional cleaning methods can aerosolize body fluids, the goal is to keep them contained. This may be done using small plastic devices that collect fluids during the cleaning and keep them from spraying around the room. Ask your dental hygienist to explain how these new cleaning devices work and how to use them.
To find out more, call your dental office.