With dental offices throughout Washington and the rest of the country opening up after stay-at-home orders and lockdowns due to COVID-19 coronavirus, you may be wondering if it’s safe to visit the dentist.
So in this blog from Redmond Art of Dentistry, we’ll discuss a few recommendations by the ADA, CDC, and OSHA that dentists are using to keep patients safe during their appointments. Let’s get started.
PATIENT & STAFF CHECKS
Many dentists are using CDC-recommended pre-appointment questionnaires to ask patients about contact with people who have had COVID-19, recent travel, and symptoms they may have had in the past few weeks that could indicate infection.
In addition, dentists are providing the same questionnaires to staff members, and may also choose to take the temperatures of both staff members and patients using an infrared thermometer to check for elevated temperatures.
SOCIAL DISTANCING AT DENTAL OFFICES
Since COVID-19 coronavirus is primarily transmitted through respiratory particles from breathing, coughing, and sneezing, social distancing of at least 6 feet between each person is the best way to stop its transmission. With 6 feet of distance, the particles will fall harmlessly to the ground before reaching another person.
Dental offices around the country are taking steps like removing some seating from lobbies and waiting areas to encourage proper distancing, and allowing patients to check in for appointments from their cars.
Additional precautions dentists can take include seeing fewer patients per day and spacing out patient appointments throughout the day to reduce the number of people waiting in dental offices at any given time.
ENHANCED PPE FOR DENTAL TEAM MEMBERS
Dental team members were always required to wear PPE like gloves and masks, but now dentists are also wearing eye protection such as face shields, as well as gowns and shoe coverings or head coverings during patient treatment.
FREQUENT DISINFECTION OF COMMONLY-TOUCHED SURFACES
Touch is thought to be one of the most important vectors for COVID-19 transmission, particularly if a person touches a contaminated surface and touches their nose, face, or mouth. For this reason, the CDC is recommending that all commonly-touched surfaces in dental offices (tables, counters, chairs, doorknobs, etc.) be sanitized frequently throughout the day using a hospital-grade disinfectant.
In addition, most dental offices are removing hard-to-clean objects like children’s toys, pamphlets, and magazines from common areas to further reduce the risk of spreading COVID-19.
HEPA AIR FILTRATION SYSTEMS
Many dentists are opting to use portable HEPA filtration systems, which can filter about 99.97% of all particles in the air, and destroy viruses like COVID-19 coronavirus. Depending on the dentist, these filtration systems may be used in operatories during dental procedures, or left in common areas like hallways and lobbies.
IT’S SAFE TO SEE THE DENTIST DURING COVID-19 – CONTACT US NOW FOR MORE INFORMATION!
At Redmond Art of Dentistry, Dr. Daniel Bickel is following all applicable recommendations to keep you safe during your appointment at our office. To learn more about appointment availability and the steps we’re taking to ensure your safety, just contact us online or give us a call at (425) 386-7599.