Many patients are surprised to know that many of the measures that are being taken to protect patients and staff against the spread of infectious diseases such as the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) are measures that dentists have been taking for many years now.
Even before the pandemic, dental offices were required to maintain strict hygiene practices. We have always followed OSHA standards for cleaning and sanitizing everything with EPA-approved disinfectants specially designed for use in a healthcare setting to kill viruses, bacteria, and other pathogens. Additionally, it has long been standard protocol for our dental team to wear protective gear, including gloves, surgical masks, and goggles for eye protection to minimize the risk of transmitting germs from one patient to another. These standards are in practice every day, regardless of whether there’s a known outbreak of an infectious disease.
Now, due to COVID-19, there are additional safety precautions in place, many of them recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the American Dental Association. We practice social distancing between all individuals in the office and routinely disinfect all common surfaces in the waiting room and restrooms, including doorknobs, countertops, and pens.
Patient entry into the office is controlled so that there is only one person in any given area at a time with more time allotted for each patient in order to reduce the number of people in the office at any given time.
Staff will also take extra precautions, including having illness screenings and daily temperature checks. Dentists and assistants will also wear more robust [PPE] equipment for higher-risk procedures that create more aerosols. This may include wearing a hairnet, double mask and a shield over the mask.
Dental team members are more at risk of infection than patients. It is important to make sure that anyone receiving treatment is healthy and infection-free. Patients will have their temperatures taken and be asked certain questions including possible symptoms, recent travel, and any contact with those who are ill.
Steps We Are Taking:
If you have had a fever of greater than 100.4 in last 24 – 48 hours, have a severe cough, have been in contact with someone with flu-like symptoms or feel worn down, we will be required to reschedule your appointment.
- We request that each patient bring and wear a mask.
- You will be asked to text or call us upon arrival, and we will notify you by text or phone call when we are able to receive you.
- Upon entering our office, we will take your temperature and ask you some screening questions.
- We will ask you to enter the restroom to wash your hands and use a mouth rinse to lessen any virus particles present in saliva when you enter the office.
- You may see that our waiting room will no longer offer magazines since those items are difficult to clean and disinfect.
- Appointments will be managed to allow for social distancing between patients.
- We will do our best to allow greater time between patients to reduce waiting times for you, as well as to reduce the number of patients in the reception area at any one time.
- You will also find some sanitizer in place throughout the office for you to use as needed.
Continue to practice proper oral hygiene as your oral health goes “hand-in-hand” with your overall health and well-being.
We are happy to answer any questions you may have about the steps we will take to keep you, and every patient, safe in our practice. We look forward to seeing you soon.