You’re enjoying a nice meal and an outdoor dining experience. You’re socially distanced, masks are nearby and it feels good to be out again with friends. People seem more cautious and respectful of distance, “Maybe this new normal isn’t so bad?” you might be thinking. Then as dessert comes out and you take a bite into your french vanilla ice cream, you feel a strange sensitivity across your teeth. You then realize, you haven’t been to the dentist since last year, months before this pandemic even began. But, is it even safe to go to the dentist now? Are you just going to be stuck with sensitivity for another whole year?
The dilemma of visiting the dentist is one that people face in themselves pretty often, and now with COVID-19, it’s become easier than ever to convince ourselves that we have a good reason to avoid the dentist for the time being. How true is this really? One thing to consider is that Dentists are much more accustomed to thinking about infectious-disease risk than you may realize. Some ways in which dentist’s are minimizing risk include:
- More advanced Personal Protective Equipment
- Staggered scheduling that involves only seeing one patient at a time
- More emphasis on creating a safe and sterile environment
- Screening patients and staff to ensure their health
- Following the rules and regulations provided by the ADA, CDC and OSHA
- And much more...
Another thing to consider is that this won’t be your dentists first time dealing with a viral outbreak. There has been a viral outbreak almost every other year and respiratory viruses are nothing new. Your dentist has been through SARs, Ebola, H1N1, Influenza, Hepatitis and more. Yet none of these virulent diseases have spread through dental offices. According to the CDC :
"To date in the United States, clusters of healthcare personnel who have tested positive for COVID-19 have been identified in hospital settings and long-term care facilities, but no clusters have yet been reported in dental settings or among dental healthcare providers."
The risk your dentist faces of infection is actually much higher than that of the patient. This is why dentists are known to be extra careful. They turn away sick patients, keep the volume of cases low and follow all necessary procedures to guarantee the safety of themselves, their office and their patients.
A few months ago dental offices were being told to only accept emergency cases that involved pain, intense discomfort or a health risk to the patients. Now they are once again able to see people for regular cleanings, check ups and non emergency scenarios. This makes it the ideal time to see the dentist. Thanks to the staggered appointments, constant disinfection and increased emphasis on personal protective equipment, the dentist is actually safer than ever. Avoiding a regular cleaning and waiting until things get uncomfortable may be one of the worst things to do right now. The impact of not taking care of your mouth can compound and leave you in a worse scenario in the future. There is no telling where COVID will go, and many medical professionals are predicting a second wave as people let their guard down and get comfortable again. This means if you take the opportunity to take care of your oral hygiene now, you can limit the risk of being stuck with an emergency situation when infection rates spike up again. Your oral health is a gateway to your body's overall health and making sure it’s taken care of will prevent various diseases and leave you feeling healthier in general.
It’s important to allow yourself to understand the situation and come to your own conclusion, this is always a better option than allowing fear to dictate how you may act. So before you even feel your first bit of sensitivity, be proactive and take advantage of this opportunity to get a safe and personal dental experience.
If you're interested in hearing what our patients have been saying you can see that here. The patient experience has been safe and comfortable.
References and Additional Information:
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2020 June 17). Guidance for dental settings. Retrieved from https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/hcp/dental-settings.html#Background
- Adeline, Stephanie, et al. “Tracking The Pandemic: Are Coronavirus Cases Rising Or Falling In Your State?” NPR, NPR, 2 Aug. 2020, www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2020/03/16/816707182/map-tracking-the-spread-of-the-coronavirus-in-the-u-s.
- “Oral Health: A Window to Your Overall Health.” Mayo Clinic, Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, 4 June 2019, www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/adult-health/in-depth/dental/art-20047475.
- Leah Groth May 13, and Leah Groth. “Dental Offices Are Starting to Reopen-Here's What to Know Before You Go.” Health.com, 13 May 2020, www.health.com/condition/infectious-diseases/coronavirus/is-it-safe-to-go-to-the-dentist-during-covid-19.
- Amenabar, Teddy. “Yes, You Should Still Go to the Dentist. But Be Careful.” The Washington Post, WP Company, 28 June 2020, www.washingtonpost.com/health/2020/06/28/dentist-appointment-faq-coronavirus/