What to Know About Dental Offices Reopening
Routine dental exams are crucial to your oral health and overall wellness. During the COVID-19 pandemic, you may have had to reschedule a preventive checkup. However, dental offices are now open to help patients meet their dental health needs. Infection control has always been a top priority for dental practices and updated guidelines to prevent the spread of COVID-19 have been set by the American Dental Association (ADA), the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and state health departments and agencies.
Choosing when to return to the dentist is a personal choice and you may notice a few changes for added safety measures. Here is what you may experience as you return to the dentist.
Before your appointment:
- To allow social distancing between patients, there may be fewer appointment time options and longer waiting periods. To minimize the number of people in the office, you may be asked to leave family members or caregivers at home unless it is necessary for them to accompany you for the appointment.
- You may be asked screening questions to make sure you do not have any COVID-19 symptoms (such as fever or cough) and to confirm you have not been in contact with anyone diagnosed with COVID-19.
- You may be asked to complete paperwork at home and submit electronically prior.
Day of appointment:
• You may be asked to wait in your car until the staff is ready. Waiting rooms will have fewer chairs and no magazines or toys.
• Upon arrival, you may have your temperature taken and may be asked to wear a mask.
• Front office staff will be wearing face masks, shields, gowns and head coverings.
• You may be asked additional screening questions about having COVID-19 symptoms.
• You may see additional dividers at the front desk and throughout the office.
• You may need to wash your hands before treatment. Hand sanitizer will be provided.
• Treatment may be modified to reduce aerosols. For example, the hygienist may hand-polish your teeth instead of ultrasonic cleaning.
After your appointment:
• You will be asked to notify your dentist if you experience any COVID-19 symptoms or you test positive for COVID-19 within 14 days of your appointment.
If you have any questions about safety measures, contact your dentist directly. Please remember to be patient with your dental office as they navigate this new way of providing care.