While we’ve all done our part by staying home for the past few months, many of us are now wondering what it’s like to venture out for in-person services like hair cuts and dentist visits. The good news is now these businesses are open under new state regulations and serving patients with the same dedication to quality service before the pandemic began. In fact, the American Dental Association reports that more and more dentists are open and back to business as usual. Since it’s impossible to socially distance or wear a mask during treatment at the dentist, it’s natural to experience a little trepidation before your next visit. Fortunately dentists are already well-prepared for infection control in their offices. Let’s see what it’s like going to the dentist now in 2020.
First thing is first, your next dentist appointment will likely take a little longer. You’ll want to adjust your schedule and time taken off from work to accommodate this. There are several reasons why an appointment will take longer during this pandemic, including:
It is important to stay patient and remain courteous during this change in treatment. Your dentist has the health and well-being of both you and their staff in mind, and a few extra minutes in the chair or waiting to check in is certainly worth it.
For now, the old routine of showing up at the front desk to check in is no longer viable during the pandemic. But not to worry, there’s a simple replacement that dentists are using now. First, you’ll have to complete a short questionnaire via phone with the receptionist the day before your appointment. This ensures you’re not showing any symptoms of COVID-19 before your show up for treatment. Once at the office, you’ll want to arrive a few minutes early and remain in your car. Call the front desk and let them know you’re here and ready to enter the office. They will let you know when to enter the building so you spend little or no time in the waiting room. You can bring one guest if needed, but preferably you should attend alone if at all possible.
As we mentioned briefly above, the high tech powered tools dentists have come to rely on unfortunately create a wider spray of water and saliva while in the chair. So for now dentists are returning to manual tools to reduce transmission of particles into the air. Using low tech tools does not mean you’re receiving an inferior cleaning. Rather it will just take a little longer for your dental hygienist to complete a cleaning.
This doesn’t mean dentists aren’t tapping into technology to keep patients safe during the pandemic. A suction tool often used to control saliva during procedures like dental fillings is becoming a popular choice for dentists during regular cleanings. Essentially this device is a suction tool attached to a plastic piece that fits snugly in your mouth. It can be slightly uncomfortable when it is first placed in the mouth, but you’ll quickly adapt to it as it makes cleaning and treatment safer for all parties involved.
We’d like to leave you with a thought that should be very reassuring in the wake of this pandemic. Businesses of all types have had to completely alter their business to adjust to new safety guidelines. While dentists too have changed many of their procedures too, they are already well-versed in infection control and cleanliness procedures. Dentists have been dealing with things like water and saliva spray for a long time, and keeping patients safe and healthy has always been priority number one. So while dentists and their staff are wearing more PPE these days, the general approach to infection control is even more robust than it was before the pandemic began.
As you can see, there is no reason to keep putting off dental care now that offices have adapted to new health and cleanliness guidelines. No business is better equipped to control potential infection, and you'll still experience that friendly treatment you’ve come to expect, even if the dentist’s smile can’t be seen under their mask. Contact Grace & Leedy Family Dentistry today to schedule your next appointment.