It goes without saying that the coronavirus outbreak made drastic changes to our day-to-day living. Dental health and regular visits to the dentist during COVID are no exception.
With the rapid spread of the coronavirus at the beginning of 2020, the American Dental Association (ADA) started advising dental practices to only admit emergency cases.
While things are slowly getting back to normal across the United States, now, more than ever, patients and dentists need to practice dental safety to lower the chances of contracting or spreading COVID-19.
Here at River Oak Dental, we firmly believe that every patient can achieve optimal oral health, even during pandemic circumstances. The safety and wellbeing of our patients and staff remain our number one priority while we continue fixing smiles for everyone in need of our dental services.
Your next dental appointment will look a bit different than it used to, but rest assured that we are going the extra mile to keep everyone safe. Here’s what you can expect during your next visit to River Oak Dental:
Before Making an Appointment
Patient Screening Before Coming In
While a visit to the dentist during COVID doesn’t have to be an unpleasant experience, we need to ensure our patients are healthy.
For that reason, before scheduling your appointment, we will ask you a series of questions about your current health. If you have been showing signs of fever, cough, or loss of taste and smell recently, your appointment will be (re)scheduled for at least 2 weeks later.
Patients are also instructed to notify the practice if they develop symptoms (fever, coughing, sore throat) or test positive for COVID-19 prior to their appointment.
Additionally, if you are among the high-risk patients, please make sure to inform our staff so they can schedule a high-risk appointment.
Reducing The Risk Of Exposure
To maintain physical distance in the office, we encourage people to use our ‘virtual’ waiting room. During your scheduling call, our team may ask you to wait for your appointment outside the office or in the car.
Also, to limit the number of patients in the waiting room and reduce the risk of spreading the coronavirus, we ask our patients to come alone if possible. If you have to bring someone along, you will need to ask them to wait outside or in the car. Preferably, older children will need to enter the office without a parent.
Of course, we are willing to make exceptions when the patient is a minor or needs special assistance.
When Visiting Your Dentist during COVID
Upon arrival, our office staff will ask you the same health-related questions they did during your scheduling call. They will also provide a mask and tissues and instruct you on how to dispose of them.
You will have to wash your hands and have your temperature taken. If the thermometer reads 100.2F and above, we will advise you to seek medical help and probably reschedule your appointment for a later date.
Given the fact that COVID-19 can be spread before symptoms appear, when possible, please maintain a physical distance of at least 6ft. While the patient and the dentist have to stay close, social distancing can still be practiced throughout the dental setting.
A Different Look
Inside the office, you may see a slightly different setting. Commonly shared items like magazines, toys, pens, and decorations will no longer be offered. You may also note hand sanitizer provided for you to use to clean your hands, as well as sanitizing wipes available to clean the objects you have touched.
The personal protection equipment our dental team is wearing might be different than before. This may include face masks, goggles, face shields, and gowns. These additional protective measures will keep both you and our staff safe and healthy.
After Visiting Your Dentist During COVID
Upon completion of your appointment and before the next client, the staff will thoroughly clean the dental chair and the working area. Every other surface you may come in contact with will also have been sanitized to practice maximum dental safety.
Should you need to pay in cash, we encourage you to use hand sanitizer before handing the payment to the office personnel. This prevents illness from being passed on to others.
Most importantly, should you develop COVID-19 symptoms within 2 days of completion of your appointment, please, call our office immediately. Knowing if a client tests positive for COVID-19 just after being seen can help us stop the potential risk of spreading the virus. Our staff will take all the necessary precautions (including personal screening and testing as needed) to keep subsequent clients healthy and safe.
How Our Team Prepares
To ensure everyone stays protected, our team has received an extensive list of recommendations to follow.
All medical staff has practiced thorough handwashing technique and proper use of the new equipment for personal protection. Also, every team member has their temperature taken daily upon arrival.
If a staff member’s temperature reads above 100.2F and they feel unwell, they are immediately released from work and advised to stay home for 2 weeks.
Remember, your oral health is greatly related to your overall health. Regular visits to the dentist during COVID can make all the difference. We are here for you!