As COVID-19 infections and hospitalizations continue to rise and fall across the country, the question of if and when you can see your dentist continues to evolve. Dental offices shut across the United States after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the American Dental Association (ADA) released guidance for dental offices.
Many dental offices temporarily stopped treating patients who wanted to make appointments for procedures that were elective or not urgent. In some cases, concerned patients may have avoided seeking dental care for urgent issues. Keep in mind that your oral health is an incredibly important part of your overall health.
Don’t Delay Urgent Dental Care
Contact your dentist if you experience any of the following:
- Bleeding that does not stop
- Painful swelling in or around your mouth
- Pain in a tooth, teeth or jaw bone
- Gum infection with pain or swelling
- After surgery treatment (dressing change, stitch removal)
- Broken or knocked-out tooth
If you’re experiencing any of the symptoms listed above and your dentist is able to see you, please make an appointment and get the care you need.
What to Expect When You Visit the Dentist
Despite the potential risks of visiting a dental office, both the World Health Organization and the CDC say that as of yet, there haven’t been any confirmed cases of the coronavirus being transmitted in a dental office.
Dental offices use instruments such as drills and air-water syringes that can create a visible spray, which contains droplets of saliva and/or blood. These can contaminate frequently touched surfaces or can stay airborne for hours, according to some estimates. Each dentist has its own procedures for dealing with patients during this time and many have enhanced protocols for this new normal.
The good news is that dental offices take exceptional care to maintain safe and sterile conditions to help keep you safe.
Dental Visit Checklist
First, understand your dentist’s policies and procedures. Below are some questions you may want to ask the dentist before your appointment:
- What, if any, special practices and procedures are you using to protect patients and staff at this time?
- Should I plan to arrive early or to wait in my car to avoid spending extra time in the reception area?
- How will we maintain social distancing during my appointment?
- Will you be able to see me even if I have traveled locally or internationally in the last 14 days?
- Is there anything special I need to do – or anything I should do differently – before or after my appointment?
Take Care of Your Dentist as Well
While your dentist is looking out for you, please also look out for your dentist. Be sure that you are in good health prior to your appointment and be sure to check your temperature and report any illness or lack of well-being you may be experiencing before, or on the day of your appointment. The best way to prevent illness is to avoid being exposed to the virus. The CDC…