A Different Visit: How Dentists are Keeping Patients Safe in Today’s Health Pandemic

As many medical practices around North America get back to a modified “new normal,” the dental industry is taking precautions to keep clients safe, as well.

From installing air purification systems to wearing extra personal protective equipment (PPE), dentists are implementing new protective measures to ease patients’ anxiety about visiting during this COVID-19 season and to assure that patients and dentists and their teams are all safe.

While dental offices have always had a high level of infection control, they have increased those efforts.
For instance, one Ottawa downtown dentist practice, Constitution Dental , which offers comprehensive services such as cosmetic, restorative and general dentistry, is extending its safety measures in response to COVID-19.
In an industry that already places safety and patient comfort at top priority, here are some of the other common extra measures dental practices are taking right now.

Keeping a Clean Environment

Like any medical practice, it goes without saying that every inch of a dental office needs to be kept clean.  During COVID-19, surfaces and chairs are being wiped after each patient visit, and anything that gets touched like x-ray switches, drawer handles, etc., are being wiped with a disinfectant cleaner. Additionally, the waiting room and reception area are being cleaned frequently, and some dental practices are even texting patients when it’s time to come inside for their appointments to avoid the waiting room.

Symptom Screening and Staggered Scheduling

In many dental offices, staff are required to screen patients for coronavirus symptoms prior to their arrival.  Sometimes this includes a temperature and oxygen level check at the door.  Other practices have changed the way they schedule appointments and are staggering each visit to allow for cleaning time/less volume of patients. 
Virtual Dentist Visits

For those patients who are hesitant to come into the office, it may be possible to schedule a Zoom or video conference call with the dentist from the comfort of their own home.  Before opening their doors once again, during lockdown orders, many dental practices offered virtual visits so staff could address patient concerns/problems and determine if they needed immediate attention.

Extra PPE

You’d be hard-pressed to visit a dentist who does not already wear a mask and latex gloves when examining patients, but during the current health pandemic, they are taking extra precautions to protect themselves and their clients.  For instance, some dentists are adding face shields over their masks.  This ensures further safety to both the dentist and the patient.

If you still cannot make it to the dentist for a routine cleaning, it’s important to remember that now is not the time to take risks with your oral health. It is more important than ever to brush two times a day with a fluoridated toothpaste. Flossing daily is essential to help prevent cavities between teeth and to keep your gums healthy.