Many dental offices have made changes to the way they operate due to the circumstances surrounding COVID-19. Some dentists have continued to see patients in need of emergency or urgent dental care while others may have closed temporarily in compliance with health and safety guidelines.
As dental offices begin to reopen and/or continue to serve patients, many have taken a number of extra measures to ensure the safety, health and comfort of both their patients and staff.
If you need to make an appointment or seek dental care, here are some changes you should anticipate during your next office visit.
Changes for patients:
- Schedule your appointment early. Since some dental offices were required to close temporarily, there will be many patients who need to reschedule a canceled appointment and other patients who have been waiting to be seen.
- Some services may be limited or altered at this time to comply with ongoing restrictions and guidelines. You can speak to your dental office about their offerings when you schedule your appointment.
- You may be required to wear a mask to your next dental appointment. Some offices may provide you with a mask to wear.
- Instead of waiting in a waiting room, you may be asked to wait in another safe and open public space outside of the dental office area. You should ask your dental office if they have made any additional changes to their check in process prior to your appointment.
- Offices will implement screening measures to ensure only healthy patients are seen in-office.
- You should expect to be screened both over the phone and once you arrive for your appointment. Some offices will have temperature checks. In some cases, COVID- 19 testing prior to the appointment may also be required.
- To ensure the safety of all future patients, please let your dental office know if you develop any COVID-19 symptoms in the two weeks following your appointment.
Changes to expect at your dental office:
- Dental offices will limit visits and/or stagger appointments to properly follow social distancing guidelines.
- Waiting rooms may be closed, rearranged or have a limited number of seats for social distancing purposes. You may be asked not to bring other people with you to your appointment to avoid having a group of people gathered in one location.
- Hand sanitizer should be available to all patients during their visit.
- Staff may be wearing more personal protective equipment (PPE) than they have during your previous appointments, such as face masks, gloves, gowns, and more. There may also be glass shields or barriers separating all parties inside the office.
Don’t forget to care for your oral health at home! Make sure you are brushing your teeth for two minutes, twice daily, with fluoridated toothpaste and flossing once per day. Keeping up these important habits will give you and your dentist a reason to smile during your next visit.