Is It Safe To Go To The Dentist During The COVID-19 Pandemic?
Posted on 2/3/2021 by OM
It's hard to think of an aspect of our lives that COVID-19 hasn't changed. From the way we work, travel, grocery shop, visit with friends and family, and even go to the dentist - everything is different. As this highly contagious virus has rapidly worked its way across the world, the information regarding what aspects of life are safe or not has continued to evolve and change.
Early in the pandemic dental offices in Washington were asked to close their doors in order to conserve personal protective equipment for hospital workers expecting a surge in patients. There was also some concern regarding the risk of COVID-19 transmission during a routine visit to the dentist in which aerosol-generating dental instruments are used.
In May, dental offices like ours were allowed to open again as long as we continue to follow recommended guidelines and provide our team with appropriate personal protective equipment.
Dental professionals have followed a high standard of cleanliness and disinfectant practices for decades. Combining those standards with a heightened focus on safety and infection control during the pandemic is paying off. According to a June study by the American Dental Association, less than 1% of dentists across the nation had tested positive for COVID-19, and in a July interview with NPR, Dr. Michele Neuburger (Dental Officer for CDC & COVID-19 Response Team) stated "There have been no confirmed cases of COVID-19 transmitted in a dental office so far. And that includes follow-up by the CDC of false news reports suggesting such infections."
Despite the potential risk of exposure in a dental office, the data by both the World Health Organization and the CDC has continued to support the conclusion that the risk is minimal - especially when recommended guidelines and precautions are followed by dental professionals.
COVID-19 Safety at Our Spokane Dental Office Bryan Hill DDS
Safety and cleanliness have always been a top priority for our office. Treatment rooms and the equipment we use are always sanitized from top to bottom between each guest to standards set at the State and Federal level. Because safety is always top of mind for us, our team keeps up to date on these guidelines with yearly safety meetings and training. In addition to our regular cleanliness routines, we've also added a professional air-filtration system in our treatment rooms, as well as plexiglass partitions and frequent sanitization of our front office and common areas.
You'll notice that our team members are also wearing more safety equipment than usual. Our front office members are wearing masks just like we ask of our patients, and our clinical team is in full personal protective equipment with head coverings, N-95 masks, and shields that are changed in accordance with ADA and CDC guidelines. It may be harder to see, but we still have the same friendly smiles under all this gear!
While normally we'd welcome you into our comfortable reception area for a pre-appointment beverage, the first major change you'll notice is that we now ask you to call or text us from the parking lot when you arrive. While we hope this change is temporary, it allows us to follow guidelines regarding social distancing between visitors. As soon as your provider is ready for you and we have received your digital COVID-19 pre-screening questionnaire, we will call or text you back, letting you know that it is safe to come inside.
Upon arrival, we ask that you do wear a mask and that you wear it correctly, covering both your nose and your mouth. When you enter our office you will be greeted by a member of our team who will assist you with a temperature check. If you plan to have your cell phone out while in the office, we will also provide alcohol wipes to sanitize your phone prior to entering the clinical area. At the front desk and throughout our office, you will find hand sanitizer, which we encourage you to use liberally.
The Importance of Oral Hygiene on Overall Health
As a dental office that focuses on the importance of prevention for a lasting, healthy smile and general health, we believe that maintaining your regular dental visits is more significant now than ever before. Your overall health is directly linked to the health of your smile. Without regular cleanings and exams, decay and gum disease can run rampant causing even bigger problems down the road, such as dental pain, tooth loss, and even heart problems or diabetes.
You - our patients - have always been important to us. You're part of our dental family! And now, with the current COVID-19 situation, your safety and that of our team are paramount. We know that when you choose to visit us, you are putting your trust in our hands and we take that responsibility very seriously.
We hope you can now rest assured that we are doing all that we can to ensure both your safety and the safety of our team during your next visit. Thank you for being a part of our dental family and we look forward to seeing you again soon!
If you are new to our office, we'd love to welcome you in for a new patient visit! Contact us here, or give us a call at (509) 468-4040 to reserve an appointment.