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Is it Safe to See the Dentist? Covid-19 and Keeping Up with Your Oral Health

Remember the good old days when fear of a cavity was your only anxiety sitting in the dentist’s chair? That was before COVID-19. Today, anxiety is at an all-time high about many things—for many, even just leaving the house. We want to reassure you why you don’t need to be anxious about going to the dentist. Take a moment to lower your anxiety by learning what Smile Generation-trusted dentists are doing (and have always done) to make safety our #1 priority. 

Is it safe to go to the dentist?

For Smile Generation-trusted offices, the health and safety of patients and team members has always been something to take seriously. We are members of the Organization for Safety, Asepsis and Prevention (OSAP) and consistently follow the Centers for Disease Control (CDC)’s Infection Control Guidelines for Dental Practices. Offices have state-of-the-art infection control policies, procedures and systems in place that demonstrate safe and infection-free oral healthcare that meet or exceed the CDC’s Standard Precautions for Dental Practices.

As COVID-19 continues to impact communities around the country, we’ve put added safety precautions  in place. Here are some of the things you can expect:

  • Pre-Screening – Before your appointment, the office will call you to ask some prescreening questions. We will ask those same questions upon arrival at your appointment.
  • Direct-To-Room – At your appointment, you will have the option to wait in your car instead of the waiting room. Simply call us upon arrival and we will let you know when we are ready for you..
  • Temperature Screening – We take the temperature of everyone who enters our office—both patients and team members.
  • Sanitize - Between every patient interaction, we sterilize all touch points.
  • Mouth Rinse – At your appointment, we may ask you to pre-rinse with peroxide which has anti-fungal, anti-bacterial, and anti-viral properties.
  • Protect Yourself – We encourage you to protect yourself by wearing a mask, using hand sanitizer, and continue social distancing.

Teledentistry or virtual screening is another option to receive essential oral health care without visiting the dentist’s office and complying with social distancing guidelines.  This way, you can talk with a dentist who can listen to your concerns, make a diagnosis, and even prescribe appropriate medication when necessary—all from your smartphone, tablet, or computer.

Are dentists open right now during COVID-19?

Most Smile Generation-trusted dental offices  (and many others) have remained available to help with emergency dental appointments. We have joined with the American Dental Association in urging people to avoid the local ER or urgent care center for dental treatment in order to preserve maximum capacity for COVID-19 and other emergencies. It’s also important because most ERs are simply not equipped to treat certain emergency dental needs. A  tooth that needs to be pulled, a root canal, a cracked filling are just a few examples where a local ER may not be able to help. If you have a dental emergency, we can help you find a dentist near you who takes emergency appointments.

While federal guidelines initially advised postponing elective procedures, surgeries, and non-urgent dental visits,  many are now open for non-urgent care, as well. Great news!  For now, information on openings is changing rapidly, and may vary by state. Try calling the individual office for specific information. And for broader information about the dentists in your area, check with your local municipality’s website to learn the most current regulations.

Should you reschedule a dentist appointment if you’re sick?

It’s always a good idea to let your dental office know when you’re not feeling well—for your sake as well as everyone else in the office! You may appreciate knowing Smile Generation-trusted dental offices will be pre-screening all patients before appointments, rescheduling patients who are sick. If you have signs or symptoms of a respiratory illness, you should avoid dental care for now. CDC guidelines also recommend that if possible, emergency dental care be avoided until the patient has recovered from the respiratory infection. Your dentist’s office will also be asking staff to stay home or sending staff home if they develop symptoms while at work.

Your oral health care has never been more important!

Your oral health is an important part of your overall health. We call this The Mouth-Body Connection®. Research shows a link between oral health and Alzheimer’s disease, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, preterm low-weight babies, and more. The CDC has stated that nearly 90% of hospital admissions due to COVID-19 involved comorbidities*, defined as the presence of two chronic diseases or conditions in a patient. Further, The American Dental Association has pointed out that the longer dental practices remain closed to preventive care and treatment for early forms of dental disease, the more likely that patients’ untreated disease will progress. This increases the complexity and cost of treatment down the road.

Is it safe to go to the dentist? Again, the health and safety of our patients and team members has always been our number one priority. We’ve always taken proper precautions. Today, we’re doing even more to ensure your safety. Combining what we know from the Centers for Disease Control, the American Dental Association, and the extensive research linking oral and overall health, a better question at this time may actually be whether it’s safe to not go.