The novel coronavirus has drastically changed many facets of everyday life. From the way people gather to the way they shop, everything is different. The same holds true for many medical practices. While people still need to go to the dentist's office, many of the standard procedures have changed.
If you have an upcoming dental appointment and you're not sure what to expect, you may be feeling nervous. However, you don't need to worry. Dentists and their staff are doing everything possible to keep their patients safe. Here are four changes you can expect at the dentist's office during the COVID-19 pandemic:
1. You will need to arrive alone.
You should arrive at the dentist's office alone. Only patients with appointments are allowed to wait in the waiting room in order to promote good social distancing. For everyone's safety, leave your children and spouse at home, unless they also have an appointment.
2. You will have your temperature taken.
To prevent the spread of COVID-19, dentists ask that sick patients stay home. If you're feeling unwell, call ahead to cancel your appointment. As a precautionary measure, a member of the dental staff will take your temperature when you arrive at the office. Patients with fevers will be sent home and asked to reschedule their appointment for another day. The thermometers used in dentist's offices are infrared thermometers that do not need to come in contact with a patient's skin, further reducing the spread of infection.
3. You will be asked to wear a face mask.
Many businesses have started to require that patrons wear face masks while on the premises. Masks can halt the spread of the coronavirus by reducing oral and nasal droplet transmission. To be effective, masks must be worn over the nose and mouth. You will be asked to wear a cloth or paper mask to your dental appointment. Your mask should be worn until a representative from the dentist's office tells you to remove it.
4. You will notice dental staff wearing additional protective gear.
Dentists have always worn masks to prevent the transmission of oral droplets while they work on patients. However, you may notice your dentist and dental hygienist wearing some additional gear. Face shields have become a standard part of dental practitioners' personal protective equipment. Clear face shields allow dental professionals to see what they're doing while reducing the risk of doctor-patient droplet transmission.