Is it Safe to Go Back to the Dentist: A Comprehensive COVID Precautions List
Over the past several months, many dental patients throughout Ontario had to put their oral health appointments on hold. Fortunately, exceptions such as urgent and emergency treatments were allowed on a limited basis.
Now that we are nearly six months into the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, routine services are finally accessible to our patients once again. That being said, many of the families whom we serve still have questions for our Sarnia dentist, Dr. Karen Davis.
Here are some of the most common ones that we hear:
Is There a Screening Process?
Yes. Both patients and our dental team are screened for symptoms of COVID-19 in an effort to slow the spread and prevent transmission. Patients will be required to complete a pre-screening questionnaire leading up to their appointment and then again on the day of their visit. We will make sure any red flags, such as common COVID symptoms, haven’t been an issue in the last several days. Please be sure to share with us if you’ve recently travelled or been around anyone that’s ill. If need be, we will reschedule you for a later date.
Why Were Dental Offices Closed for So Long?
Dentistry is an area of health care that requires close proximity to other people. As a patient, your respiration and saliva allow for the potential transfer of microscopic organisms. Although our dental facility maintains extremely high levels of disinfection protocols, COVID-19 was simply a new pathogen that lacked extensive research in regard to transmission.
Until Chief Medical and Health Officials were able to determine absolute safety for dental patients and dental practitioners, care had to be restricted to urgent or emergency-only services that could not be deferred. As a result, elective, non-emergency, and preventative care was delayed until the proper governing authorities determined it was safe to re-open.
What About Dental Aerosols?
One of the primary concerns of re-opening dental offices during the COVID-19 pandemic was due to the aerosols created by common dental equipment. Fortunately, extensive research has been conducted when it comes to measuring the time that aerosol particles remain suspended in the air. By reducing the use of aerosol-producing procedures, maintaining optimal air supply and circulation (SURGICALLY CLEAN AIR units are installed in each operatory and reception area), doors and hospital-grade curtains between all operatories, and extensive surface disinfection between patients, we provide a safe environment for both dental patients and our team. And when such technology needs to be utilized, protocols are set in place for suction, reducing the opportunity for droplets outside of the immediate work area.
Which Dental Services are Available?
At this time, each of the respective dental regulatory bodies throughout Canada has directed their provinces and territories as to which procedures can be resumed or ought to be delayed. At this time, all of our dental services — including elective and non-emergency treatments — have safely resumed. However, some adaptations to the schedule are still required in an effort to maintain social distancing and expanded disinfection times between patients.
Will My Appointment or Treatment Be the Same?
No. Dentists are still implementing extensive aerosol reduction processes such as the use of pre-procedural rinses, rubber dam or /Isolight, and high volume suctions to eliminate aerosol production as much as possible. Additionally, you may notice that some procedures feel a bit different or take slightly longer if we are eliminating a motorized piece of equipment from the appointment (allowing for manual manipulation instead (hygienists). These minor changes allow oral health providers to safely deliver routine and elective care without further delaying appointments until the pandemic subsides.
Will I Need to Wear a Mask?
Yes. We ask that you wear a mask at all times leading up to your care appointment, as advised by public health authorities. You will remove your mask once seated and care is initiated but be asked to put it back on once your procedure is complete. This added step ensures the safety of fellow patients within the building as well as that of our clinical and reception team.
I Have More Questions…
Dr Karen Davis Dentistry is committed to ensuring you and your family’s safety throughout each care experience. We are consistently adapting and adjusting our care measures to comply with the recommendations of both the Health and Dental regulatory agencies. Should you have any questions regarding your appointment or protective measures set in place, we encourage you to please give us a call!
Looking for a Sarnia dentist’s office that’s open? COVID-19 restrictions are lifting. Contact us to reserve a visit for you and your family!