COVID-19 & Dental appointments
Now that we all have been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic from individuals to big corporations and no matter what we do, “staying in place” has become the norm, at least for now.
Your dental offices are one of the most highly affected businesses next to the hospitals and medical offices. After all, dentists, regardless of the practice model, endodontists, oral surgeon, orthodontists, pediatric dentists all work in the one of most cautious areas on the body, the mouth. Talking about coughing and sneezing being dangerous, would you want to work in someone’s mouth right now? I don’t think so. So here are a few things to think about before you feel you need to go to your dentist’s office.
Dental offices have been instructed by their local government, the CDC and WHO to cease with regular dental visits, only to take emergency cases as they are needed.
An emergency usually means the patient is in pain, having uncontrollable bleeding, or a trauma-related incident. In some instances, the patient may be able to control the pain with over the counter items rather than going into the dental office. Simply call or email your dental office and let them tell you what you next step should be.
Also if you need to go into office, expect to have your temperature checked, questions regarding your recent travels, health condition (such as have you had a cold, coughing, sneezing, etc.).
Before coming into the office you may be asked to brush prior to your appointment. Once you arrive you will probably be asked to wash your hands and rinse your mouth with a peroxide based mouth rinse.
There will be a limited staff and maybe one or two other patients during your visit. The dentist and his staff also are practicing social distancing, so there won’t be many people in the office and waiting patients will be asked to continue social distancing by not sitting next to one another.
We all know that oral hygiene is very important and keeping our teeth clean is a major responsibility. However, in this situation, everyone can wait to have their 3, 6 month routine dental cleaning done at a later date. Now is the time for you to do your very best to clean your teeth on a daily basis (2-3 times a day) until you can have that professional cleaning.
For patients with braces, your orthodontist is under the same restrictions. The adjustment or “tightening” as most people call it is not going to affect your treatment by very much if you go 8-10 weeks without an appointment. If its been longer that 10 weeks, there is still no need to panic. It may add a couple of months to your treatment time line but its better to wait than to risk getting sick and perhaps not having a time line at all.
Most orthodontic offices will not be able to see you to have those braces removed if that was your next appointment. Because at this time, any dental procedure requiring the use of a hand piece has been restricted to a later date when it has been determined how the dentist is going to protect themselves and their staff from the aresol spray that the hand piece gives off. (Remember COVID-19 is airborne and any saliva droplets can be spurn into the air if the dentist uses the hand piece). So I ask that everyone be patient and allow the experts to devise plans that will keep us all safe now and after this is over.
One day we will go back to our regular busy lives, but for now just practice staying safe and healthy until that time comes.