Visiting the dentist is something most people need to do twice a year, but the last two years have been anything but conventional in the medical world.
It’s completely understandable that you would have reservations about vising the dentist during COVID times, especially since receiving dental care means you can’t wear a mask while getting treatment. However, dentists have always maintained a high standard of cleanliness and hygiene at the office for your safety. In fact, dentists have boosted their efforts to keep both their staff and patients even safer during COVID, taking extra precautions to ensure minimal risk for everyone at the practice.
Dentists have also had a relatively low rate of coronavirus infections during the pandemic. In one study, research showed that, over a six-month period, only 2.6% of dentists tested positive for the virus. As long as both you and your dentist in Asheville take precautions, it’s relatively safe for most patients to still attend their regular dental visits and even receive emergency or restorative care.
Here are a few precautions you can take before and after visiting your dentist during COVID times to stay safe.
Wear a Mask
Although many states and counties continue to adjust their mask-wearing requirements, wearing a mask is a good precaution to take when visiting any type of medical office, and most places that provide medical services are requiring them.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends wearing masks that completely cover your mouth and nose and fit snugly to prevent air from escaping out the sides of your mask. As the result of the new Omicron variant, N95, KN95, and KN94 masks are recommended.
While you will need to remove your mask at the office to receive treatment during your dental appointment, wearing your mask when coming in to the office, using the restroom, and when checking out and exiting can help minimize your exposure and protect others while at the dentist.
Be Honest When Answering Screening Questions
Prior to your appointment, your dentist practice in Asheville may call or email you to ask you a few questions about any potential symptoms or exposure to COVID you may have had. They may also ask whether you have traveled out of the state or the country recently.
Be honest when answering these screening questions. These questions are designed to help protect you, the dentist, staff, and other patients during your appointment. If for any reason the dentist finds you shouldn’t come into the practice based on your answers, they will work with you to reschedule your appointment as soon as possible.
Wash Your Hands or Use Hand Sanitizer
If you don’t already, consider carrying hand sanitizer with you so you can use it after touching doors and before and after your appointment or using the restroom. Your dentist’s office should also have plenty of hand sanitizer available for you to use during your appointment to minimize the spread of germs.
Ideally, you would wash your hands when you are able, but when you can’t wash your hands, using hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol content can help kill viruses and bacteria to help keep you safer and healthier.
Stay Home If You Are Having Symptoms
If you are having any symptoms of COVID, reschedule your appointment and stay home. These include symptoms such as cough, fever, sore throat, nausea, loss of taste and smell, or even muscle aches. You should also cancel your appointment if you were exposed to someone who tested positive for COVID recently, even if you are vaccinated.
Should you feel fine and come in for your appointment, but then start having symptoms afterward, call your dental office and let them know, even if you are not sure if you have COVID. It’s possible that you may have already been contagious when you came in for your appointment, and letting others know if they are at risk of getting sick could help your dentist reduce further transmission.
Come to Your Appointment Alone, If Possible
Your dentist may also ask that you come alone to your appointment, if possible. If you struggle with dental anxiety or are taking small children to the dentist, this may not be realistic. However, if you are coming in for your own appointment, leave your partner or children at home if at all possible.
Some dental offices are not letting anyone besides the patient themselves in for the appointment. You can verify with your dentist beforehand what their policy is and, if you need to bring someone with you, ask about accommodations.
What You Can Expect From Your Dentist
Your Asheville dentist will conduct a questionnaire screening, a temperature check, and may ask you to wait in your car until your appointment time as a precaution to minimize COVID risk. If you do not have a mask with you upon arrival, your dentist will typically provide one for you to wear while you are in the office and not receiving treatment.
At Saunders DDS, you can also expect us to be wearing more personal protective equipment (PPE) than normal. We will also ask you to use hand sanitizer upon arrival and limit the number of people coming with you to the appointment. Our staff is also cleaning surfaces more often with cleaners designed to kill viruses and bacteria, including COVID.
You can also expect us to screen our doctors and staff just as we do our patients prior to entering the office. We have a plan in place should we have to deal with a potential exposure, so you can expect us to handle the situation as quickly and efficiently as possible. We will notify you if you have been exposed as soon as possible.
Regardless of what dental practice you visit, they should be following the American Dental Association’s guidelines for staying safe during COVID times.
Your Safety Is Our Priority at Saunders DDS
Your safety is and always has been our priority at Saunders DDS. Drs. Saunders and our staff are taking extra precautions to keep both us and you safe when you come in for your appointment, whether you are here to see us for a dental emergency or for routine dental care. Have questions about our COVID procedures or what you should expect during your appointment? Don’t hesitate to reach out to us by giving us a call at (828) 277-6060.