When Will Dentists Reopen? A Guide to Accessing Dental Care During COVID-19

As the world continues to grapple with the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, many dental offices are beginning to reopen their doors. To ensure that patients who come to their appointments are healthy, dental offices may call them before the appointment and ask them some questions. This article provides tips on how to access dental care, treatment and counseling as dental offices begin to reopen. The ethical, health and financial challenges that arose during COVID-19 have necessitated that dentists adapt and be better prepared to face future crises.

If your state or local government or your dentist's office requires people to wear masks in public, be sure to wear one at your appointment or you will be provided with one. Infection control experts suggest that patients, dentists and their staff weigh their risks, which vary depending on where they live, their age, and other factors. A survey conducted in April by the North American Dental Group, which operates 230 dental offices across the country, found that 71% of respondents felt uncomfortable going to the dentist for a “non-time-sensitive” dental procedure. Matthew Messina, spokesman for the American Dental Association (ADA) and dentist in Columbus, Ohio, said that with additional precautions such as having patients wait in their cars instead of small waiting rooms and having dentists wear face shields, people should feel comfortable going to the dentist, even if they are elderly and at high risk of complications due to COVID. Starting July 20, dentists in Northern Ireland will also be able to perform AGPs (Aerosol Generating Procedures), which make up the vast majority of dental treatments.

Before the pandemic, approximately 20 percent of the population was generally afraid to go to the dentist, according to the ADA. In addition to their financial problems, many dentists plan to see fewer patients per day to reduce the number of people in their waiting rooms and give staff more time to disinfect areas between cases. Like many dentists, Gingrich received a loan from the Small Business Administration (SBA) to help pay rent, utilities, and payroll. Matthew Roberts, a dentist in Crockett, Texas who reopened his office to routine patients last week said dentists are used to managing germs that can cause infections. Ethical and financial reasons were the main drivers for dentists in this sample to reopen their offices for routine care. Even when dentists get authorization to resume regular visits, it's not known how many patients will be postponed for fear of coronavirus infection.

The bloodborne pathogen standard does not specifically apply to occupational exposure to respiratory secretions, although saliva may contain respiratory secretions (and in dentistry, the standard applies to occupational exposure to saliva).His temperature was taken upon arrival and he was asked to rinse with a solution of hydrogen peroxide to reduce germs before the dentist or hygienist looked at his mouth. The ADA has developed scientific guidance for dentists on additional steps they can take, in addition to the infection control procedures they have always followed, to help protect their patients and staff. As dental offices begin reopening across the country, it is important for patients and dentists alike to take all necessary precautions when accessing dental care during COVID-19. By following these guidelines and taking extra safety measures such as wearing masks and social distancing when possible, you can ensure that you are able to access safe and effective dental care during this difficult time.

Benjamín Gonçalves
Benjamín Gonçalves

Certified web maven. Freelance writer. Award-winning travel evangelist. Infuriatingly humble internet buff. Certified bacon practitioner.

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