The need for good oral health practices has not taken a break for the COVID-19 pandemic.
However, not many things may be different as your oral health professionals are taking pandemic precautions.
Before your appointment
American Dental Association guidelines help dentists and other oral health professionals control infections both among their staff and their patients. And it works. A study from June 2021 showed monthly infection rates among dentists to be as low as 0.2%.
To make sure their patients are healthy, your dentist may call you and ask you a few questions before your appointment. These will cover your general health and possibly your immunization status. You may also be asked to limit the number of people you bring to your date, which means your children may have to stay home or wait in the car.
At your appointment
Bring a mask to your appointment, especially if your state or local government requires people to wear masks in public. Some areas only require it for doctor’s offices, and in other places every business – and your dentist’s office is a business – has its own requirements. Better to be prepared.
You may be asked to wait outside or in your car until the staff are ready for you, which will reduce the number of people in the office and the time you spend around other people .
You can have your temperature taken and you may be offered hand sanitizer or the option to wash your hands. You may also notice that staff are cleaning and wiping surfaces more than usual, and there may be more protective gear present. Some dental instruments can be replaced with disposable items that can be thrown away instead of reused.
After your appointment
Staff will thoroughly clean the areas to prepare for the next patient. They can start doing this while you are still waiting to leave or check in. If you start to feel sick or have a positive COVID-19 test after your appointment, call the dental office even if you’ve been vaccinated. You may have been carrying the virus when you visited, so anyone you come into contact with should be notified.