March 23,202 Edited To Add: California dentists have been recommended by both the ADA and CDA to close normal operations and triage only dental emergencies at this time. Please call your dental provider before your regularly scheduled appointment to confirm their protocol as it will differ from state to state.
Do you have a dental appointment coming up? Are you frightened by what you have been hearing on the news concerning the coronavirus? Chances are, if you have answered yes to both of these questions you may be very anxious for your upcoming dental visit.
Here in Orange County public officials have declared a local health emergency due to the virus, however this does not mean that our communities should go into panic mode. There are certain things that both you, and your dentist can do to lessen the chance of the spread of any viruses - coronavirus or not.
The following tips and suggestions are meant to be applied to a dental visit but can certainly be applied to any appointment from haircuts to eye exams, to teeth cleanings. Following these suggestions can certainly help, but if you ever have any specific health related concerns, always be sure to ask your personal physician!
11 Ways To Lessen The Chance Of Coronavirus Spread At A Dental Or Medical Appointment
1. If you are sick with a fever or persistent sneezing and coughing, it is a good idea to call your dentist and reschedule your visit.
2. If you have any emergent treatment needs, try to get these scheduled right away. If the virus does escalate it is possible that cities may be placed on quarantine preventing routine dental visits. Getting emergent dental treatment taken care of now can prevent dental emergencies when access to care is more limited.
3. On the day of your appointment, inform the front desk receptionists of any recent international travel when checking in.
4. Ask for a face mask if you are coughing or sneezing. If a face mask is not readily available, cough or sneeze into a tissue.
5. Utilize a hands free trash can for throwing away tissues and face masks that you have coughed or sneezed in.
6. Dental office staff will use high level disinfection of counter tops and other such surfaces before and after each patient enters the treatment room.
7. Hand washing of at least 20 seconds with soap and water should take place by both the patient and dentist before and after each appointment.
8. If a patient is identified as sick, they should be taken into a room separate from the general waiting room.
9. Doctors and patients should wear protective eye wear during treatment.
10. Doctors should wear masks and gloves during all points of patient contact.
11. For both patients and doctors, be sure to not touch your mouth or face with unwashed hands.
Keep in mind, many of these suggestions are included in what is called “Universal Precautions” that dental and medical offices follow on a routine basis, so you can rest assured that these types of protocols are nothing new to the dentist/doctor. Just remember to be patient as paperwork and regulations may increase during this time, and also be sure to be open and honest with your dentist regarding your questions, concerns, and your medical history.
Also, remember that your dentist is human too and is doing everything that they can to keep themselves healthy and virus free. If your dental office calls to reschedule your visit due to the doctor being ill, please know that this is for the best for the both of you! Dentists are healthcare providers and want the very best for their patients, just like all doctors do. Our best advice , do not panic, and just know that every precaution will be taken during this flu and novel coronavirus outbreak season to ensure that all patients can receive quality dental care during this time.
Dr. Mikaeya Kalantari has been a practicing pediatric dentist for over 7 years working in both the children's hospital setting and private practice. She has had a wealth of experience treating children of all ages, and medical conditions. When it comes to serving children, she feels the importance of communication between the dentist and parent can not be emphasized enough. Dr. Kalantari practices in her family owned dental office in Mission Viejo, California.