May 22, 2020
The contagious nature of COVID-19 has forced medical professionals to rethink how they provide care to patients. In collaboration with the CDC and state dental associations, dentists are implementing new safety precautions at their practices. Their goal is to prevent the accidental infection of patients and staff during every stage of the treatment experience. To help get you ready for your next visit, take a look at some of the changes you can expect to see.
When you schedule your appointment, you will be asked to fill out a questionnaire online to determine whether or not you have any symptoms of COVID-19. If you do, you may be asked to postpone your visit until a later date. When you arrive for your visit, you will also have your temperature taken with a no contact device as a final check for symptoms.
New Scheduling Rules
Dental practices are seeing less patients in order to provide more time for proper disinfection procedures. They are also implementing new appointments that allow six members of the same family to be seen at the same time to prevent cross contamination. Finally, dentists are adding dedicated times for patients who are more susceptible to the virus, including those who are old or medically compromised.
New Standards For Team Members
Dental practice staff have all taken additional training to prevent the spread of germs while interacting with patients. Some of the new things they are doing include:
- Reducing unnecessary contact by not shaking patients’ hands or hugging them
- Not wearing any jewelry or watches
- Keeping hair worn in an upright position
- Changing in and out of scrubs at the office
More Personal Protective Equipment
In addition to standard surgical masks, dental teams are now using:
- N95 masks
- Plastic face shields
- Disposable coats
- Shoe coverings
Enhanced Germ Fighting Measures
Practices have added new procedures and technologies to handle germs before they have the chance to spread. These include:
- Ultraviolet light boxes that can sterilize phone screens
- Hospital grade hand sanitizing stations for use before and after each appointment
- Anti-microbial rinses to clean patients’ mouths
- High speed suction to catch germ particles ejected during procedures
- HEPA air filters and air purifiers to remove viral droplets from the air
Finally, dental teams are spending more time cleaning their offices. Operatories are disinfected after each appointment and the entire office goes through a deep cleaning at the end of the day.
Dentists are now providing some services over the internet to cut down on the number of in-person visits. Known as teledentistry, this process lets your dentist inspect your mouth while you remain at home. It is commonly used for postoperative checkups and initial consultations for elective procedures.
These new policies demonstrate your dentist’s continued commitment to providing safe and effective oral health care. When you come in for your next visit, you can start each appointment with the confidence that you are protected from COVID-19.
About The Practice
Dr. Neelima Ravi is a dentist at Oceanside Family Dental in Hampton, NH. She and her team have implemented 31 new safety procedures at their practice to keep patients safe. If you’re looking for preventive or emergency care in an environment that prioritizes your well-being, you can reach out to her through her practice’s website or at 603-926-1551.
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