Is It Safe To Go To The Dentist During COVID?
During this pandemic era we’re all going through, we are limited to what we can and cannot do. Some are mandatory, and some or down to our own free will. We’ve been locked down a few times in order to nullify the spread of the disease, but we also need to ensure we’re getting fundamental parts of our lives handled adequately.
For many, dental health is just as important as many other aspects of their well-being. Whether it’s a minor or major issue, they’ll feel as though it needs to be sorted out sooner rather than later. This is where a slight conundrum comes in, of course. Dentistry, while typically pristine and well-run, might still run into issues combatting COVID.
Making an appointment with your dentist and attending for a check-up or cleaning may not be an easy decision as we don’t know what might happen – especially with no prior knowledge. Here we’ll look to answer a few questions you might have and tackle a few points.
How Dental Practices Seem Slightly Riskier
The virus travels from person to person when contaminated saliva droplets find their way into another person’s nose, mouth, or eyes. It is conveyed via inhalation or by second-hand contact. Dentists’ offices create large amounts of saliva droplets – think about the equipment used: the drills, air-water syringes, and scalers, for instance. These instruments all create sprays of droplets containing saliva.
The smaller particulars can stay in the air for hours, and the larger ones can stay on doorknobs and dental chairs. Due to this fundamental fact, dental practices might not be the safest areas to situate during this current crisis. There will be heavily vetted, and sanitized areas, but many practices have neither the money nor resources to keep everything clean.
How Are Practices Changing Their Approach?
Dental practices would already follow many of the CDC’s recommendations pre-COVID. These included the likes of surface cleaning and personal protective equipment. More infection control practices have been introduced, however. For instance, using HEPA filters and ultraviolet irradiation of upper-room air to potential circulating germs has been recommended. Sick patients and staff should also stay well away from the practice – but this is, of course, obvious.
The Kinds Of Questions You Might Want To Ask
It’s recommended that you ask about the control practices, starting with what happens before the visit. You might also want to ask about over-the-phone screenings of the patients. Ask also about the staff and if they’re routinely tested – enquire about masks, too.
The waiting rooms can become crowded in a lot of practices, so you’ll need to ask about the maximum number and if you’re able to stand six feet apart. The cleanliness and maintenance of the waiting room should also be enquired about. Mention the HEPA filter and other prevention methods, too. This might sound like a lot, but they’re necessary in this current climate.