Should I Visit My Dentist During the Coronavirus Outbreak?
With the coronavirus pandemic quickly spreading, and public gatherings and businesses cancelling events and work, people are asking, “Should I visit my dentist during the coronavirus outbreak?”
The World Health Organization (WHO) declared COVID-19 as a pandemic on March 11, 2020 due to its “alarm levels” of spread, severity and inaction. The last outbreak characterized as a pandemic was the swine flu in 2009.
If a dental practice remains open, it must take precautions as indicated by the American Dental Association to prevent the spread of the disease in their office. These precautions include:
- Screening patients for travel and symptoms of infection during medical history updates, especially if that patient has travelled in the last 14 days or has knowledge of being in contact with someone who has contracted the coronavirus. Screening should also notice whether the patient has a cough or shortness of breath.
- Taking temperature readings as part of the examination prior to performing any dental procedures. If symptoms of the coronavirus are indicated, the dentist should not treat the patient and rather, refer them to their physician.
- Ensuring that all health care workers wear personal protective equipment appropriate for the procedures being performed. Single-use face masks are worn for treating only one patient and then discarded.
- Using a rubber dam when appropriate to mitigate any exposure to infections.
- Using high-speed processes for dental procedures.
- Sterilizing handpieces and equipment after each patient using an autoclave where appropriate.
- Having patients rinse with a 1% hydrogen peroxide solution prior to the appointment.
- Thoroughly cleaning and disinfecting all public surfaces including doorknobs, handles, counters, chairs and bathrooms.
What people might not know is that the coronavirus is easily killed by using the right disinfectant product. See this list of registered surface disinfection products issued by the Environmental Protection Agency. Hand sanitizers are not on this list because they are regulated by the Food and Drug Administration.
Advanced Family Dentistry Is Concerned About Your Health
At Advanced Family Dentistry, we are taking every precaution to ensure your health and safety. We perform daily sanitation practices and take great care in protecting both you and our staff from possible infection from the COVID-19 virus.
Since the coronavirus can be spread by airborne, droplet or contact with an infected patient, we retain the right to postpone non-emergency or elective dental procedures until this crisis has passed.
If you have an urgent need to visit the dentist, we will determine on a case-by-case basis the correct remedy and decide whether our office is the right venue for treatment. Those who are infected may be referred to an area hospital for dental treatment.
We may also suggest at this time that patients wait in their cars or arrive close to their appointment times in order to create social distance. This avoids crowding people in close proximity into our waiting room. You may notice that we have removed many items that cannot be easily disinfected, like magazines and toys.
Should You Visit Your Dentist During the Coronavirus Outbreak?
If you have questions about whether to visit your dentist or our practice here at Advanced Family Dentistry, or have a dental emergency, please give us a call. While we’re concerned about keeping our patients and our staff healthy, we’re here to help. Contact us directly at 703.390.9191.
Dr. Sonny Kim is a Diplomat of the International Congress of Oral Implantologists (ICOI), the highest education level for general dentists in this field.
Advanced Family Dentistry
Dr. Sonny Kim, DMD
11876 Sunrise Valley Dr., Suite 101
Reston, VA 20191