You may know that dental offices are closed for routine and elective procedures during the COVID-19 crisis. While they’re still open for emergency care, many people are wondering when they’ll be able to return for checkups, cleanings, and non-urgent procedures, as well as what protocols are in place to keep them safe! Keep reading to learn about the recommendations for re-opening dental offices and how your safety is your dentist’s top priority.
When Will You Be Able To See a Dentist Again For Routine Care?
The Centers For Disease Control and the American Dental Association have developed guidelines to keep patients, staff, dentists, and families safe during the COVID-19 pandemic. In addition, each state is making its own regulations and recommendations based on its infection rates.
And though it’s impossible to predict exactly when dental offices will reopen for routine care, many people anticipate looser restrictions in May. With that said, there will be different protocols in place than before such as virtual waiting rooms (i.e. calling or texting the front office when you arrive and waiting in your car until they’re ready to see you), gargling with antiseptic mouthwash prior to treatment, washing your hands when you enter the office, and more.
Also, don’t hesitate to call or email your dentist for a more specific idea of when they’ll reopen. They’ll be happy to keep you updated with any information as soon as they have it.
How Are Dentists Keeping Their Offices Clean and Sanitized?
Dentists have always taken sterilization and sanitation very seriously, and those practices are even more strict now. Here are just some of the things dentists do to prevent the spread of infection, including COVID-19:
- Frequent handwashing – Every member of staff thoroughly washes their hands before and after each patient and every time they remove their gloves.
- Personal protective equipment (PPE) – PPE such as gloves, masks, eyewear, and protective clothing are always worn throughout the day.
- Disinfecting surfaces – Chairs, countertops, keyboards, cabinet and door handles, and more are all thoroughly disinfected between every patient.
- Cough etiquette – Both staff and patients are instructed to practice cough etiquette, including coughing into their elbow, using and disposing of tissues, and washing their hands afterward.
- Sterilization of instruments – Dental instruments are first run through an ultrasonic cleaner before being sterilized in a high-heat autoclave.
Many people are anxious to get the routine dental care they need to have a healthy smile. Rest assured that your dentist will not only be open as soon as possible but also make your health and safety a top priority!
About the Author
As an experienced family dentist, Dr. Patrick Pirkle has made the safety of his patients, staff, and their families a top priority during the COVID-19 pandemic. His office will be open for routine care as soon as permitted, with strict protocols in place to lower the risk of exposure as much as possible. If you’d like to know more or have any questions, Dr. Pirkle can be reached via his website.