In March, our world forever changed as the novel COVID-19 virus turned into a global pandemic. Almost overnight, face coverings became routine, social distancing guidelines were in place, and stay-at-home mandates were in full effect. Thankfully, each of these measures has made the transition out of quarantine and into our “new normal” possible. However, the fight against the Coronavirus is not yet over. Therefore, your dentist has re-designed their daily operations to implement these four COVID-19 safety protocols at your next visit.
Extensive Cleaning Measures
Long before 2020, your dentist followed significant sanitation practices put forth by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Occupational Health and Safety Administration. Although these procedures continue to play an instrumental role in preventing cross-contamination, dental teams across the U.S. are incorporating additional cleaning measures into their daily operations. To keep their office a sterile environment, your dentist is:
- Placing hospital-grade hand sanitizing stations throughout their practice.
- Cleaning after every appointment.
- Conducting a deep cleaning each evening.
- Using CDC-approved instrument sterilization.
- Introducing advanced chairside suction.
New Appointment Options
Pre-pandemic, back-to-back procedures, jam-packed waiting rooms, and multiple visits were routine. However, the same cannot be said for dentistry during COVID-19. To ensure that proper sanitation practices are followed diligently and that each patient can safely receive the treatment they need, dentists are implementing:
- Sequenced patient scheduling, which allows for ample cleaning time between appointments.
- Expanded patient appointments that permit more dentistry in a single visit.
- Family-friendly scheduling so each member of your household can receive treatment in one trip.
- At-risk patient hours for elderly or medically compromised patients.
Social Distancing Guidelines
Since the start of COVID-19, our lives have changed exponentially. However, the importance of social distancing has remained constant. In fact, the CDC believes that enforcing the 6-foot distance has saved up to 185,000 lives! With this in mind, your dentist is introducing virtual waiting rooms, opting for contactless greetings, and placing one-way traffic signs throughout their office to make social distancing a practical reality.
Additional Personal Protective Equipment
At your last appointment, your dentist would wash their hands, apply a fresh set of gloves, and put on a mask before beginning your examination. However, the CDC is currently recommending that dental teams opt for additional personal protective equipment to add a supplementary layer of security. So, don’t be surprised to see your dentist in a face shield, disposable coat, and even shoe coverings!
As the world continues to battle COVID-19, we must all do our part in creating a sterile environment. Fortunately, your dental team is taking extensive measures to ensure you can get the oral care you need without compromising your safety!
About the Author
After completing his undergraduate degree at the University of Pennsylvania, Dr. Jason Hong attended the reputable New York University College of Dentistry! Today, he completes over 300 hours of continuing education annually, is a Fellow of the International Congress of Oral Implantologists, and has a Masters Certification in progressive orthodontics. If you would like additional information on how Dr. Hong is using his expertise to keep his patients and staff safe during COVID-19, don’t hesitate to visit his website or give him a call at 630-789-1555.