To ensure that patients who come to your appointments are healthy, your dental office may call you before the appointment and ask you some questions. This page includes tips on how you can access dental care, treatment and counseling as dental offices begin to reopen. The ethical, health and financial challenges that arose during COVID-19 require dentists to 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 said patients, dentists and their staff should 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 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, 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 American Dental Association. 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 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 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.