Over the past few weeks, have you developed a cavity from mindlessly snacking or chipped a tooth from chewing anxiously on hard objects? There are plenty of reasons why you may be searching for a “dentist near me” once COVID-19 quarantine orders begin to lift. However, your next dental appointment may look very different than any you’ve had before due to a variety of extra infection control protocols. If you don’t feel sick, why do you have to take so many precautions? Your Inwood Village dentist explains how these little steps play a big role in keeping you, the staff, and the entire community healthy during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Why Do I Have to Answer Patient Screening Questions?
When you call to make your appointment, you will be asked a few quick screening questions. Studies show that a person can be sick and contagious with COVID-19 for days without realizing it. Even if a person doesn’t feel ill, they may be fighting off an infection that can easily spread to others. To provide you and the other patients the safest dental care possible, you’ll answer a short health questionnaire while making your appointment and when you arrive to the practice. The questions may include:
- Do you have any symptoms of COVID-19, like a fever, dry cough, shortness of breath?
- Within the past two weeks, have you been in contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19?
- Are you currently awaiting test results to see if you test positive for COVID-19?
Why Do I Have to Sanitize My Hands?
Another new precautions you’ll notice as soon as you enter your dentist’s practice are the numerous new hand sanitizing stations. A team member will request that you disinfect your hands before entering the reception or clinical areas of the office. Touching a surface with infected respiratory droplets on it will transfer those particles onto your hands, which can then be dispersed onto anything else you touch, including doorknobs, countertops, or your face. While handwashing with soap and water is the most effective way to clean germs off your hands, this high-strength sanitizer will also effectively clean away any lingering microorganisms.
Where Did All the Toys and Magazines Go?
The reception area has undergone several changes as well. You’ll notice that the magazines, toys, and other activities have been removed. Researchers have found that COVID-19 can survive on a variety of surfaces for hours or days at a time, including paper, plastic, and metal. These frequently touched items can easily harbor COVID-19 particles should a sick person handle them. Since these objects are difficult to keep sterilized throughout the day, they have been temporarily retired to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.
The COVID-19 pandemic may have changed what your routine dental visits look like, but it hasn’t changed your dentist’s commitment to your wellbeing. Remember, while these extra precautions may seem a little silly or over-the-top at first, they each play a key role in keeping you and your loved one healthy during COVID-19.