With coronavirus cases at an all-time high, some patients are nervous about going to the dentist | Health

Alonzo Osche

Your next visit to the dentist will look a little different with some offices asking patients to wait in their cars and to call upon arrival before entering the office, to ensure social distancing, Tiersky says. Additional materials such as magazines and toys may be removed from waiting rooms, but your actual appointment itself will be the same.

“Patients can expect the office, dentist and the staff to look a bit different, but the visit itself will be pretty much the same, as far as having your teeth checked, cleaned and any specific oral health problems addressed,” she says.

Tiersky adds that your dentist might avoid using one specific dental tool, an ultrasonic scaler, to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

“Because COVID-19 has been found to spread through aerosol droplets,” she says, “the (the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) recommended that dentists avoid using ultrasonic scalers, which can produce aerosols, during teeth cleanings. Some offices may still not be using the ultrasonic scaler for cleanings. Each office is different, and I cannot speak to what each individual office is choosing to do.”

Heald-Sargent, who visited her dentist two months ago, says she was impressed by how well thought out personal protective equipment (PPE) was.

“Which makes sense because they don’t want to get sick,” she says. “Everyone is trying to protect themselves, which helps protect everyone else. Check, like everywhere else, that they’re enforcing masking between their patients because that would be the other variable to consider.”

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