As the COVID-19 pandemic impacts economies across the world, with more restrictions on movement and face-to-face interaction, it has made some serious lifestyle changes among people under lockdown within several parts of the world. This is also reflected through patients stepping out of their homes for various essential activities, one of which being dental care and emergencies with varying intensities with respect to the prevailing conditions.
While some of these needs were taken care of through telemedicine during the lockdown period, dental care professionals are now resuming their practices with strict hygiene and safety precautions to ensure patients of a neatly sanitized environment. In your next visit to the dentist, you’re most likely to be enquired about your recent travel history, as well as about the ones you’re in close proximity to.
As dental care professionals stay at the highest risk of contracting the infection with the virus spreading primarily through droplets of saliva, added precautionary measures are being implemented at dental clinics. There are strict protocols made for dentists and dental assistants which include the use of PPE kits, N95 masks, face shields, treating only emergencies, disinfection of instruments, and fumigation. These added precautions and inquiries also come as a result of critical information being held by patients, resulting in healthcare professionals getting infected with COVID-19.
Saliva is rich in any viral load a patient is carrying. Added precautionary measures must be exercised by patients by rinsing their mouth with warm water, or 1% hydrogen peroxide, or povidone-iodine, whichever is accessible just before their visit to the dental clinic. Needless to say, they must wear masks and maintain social distancing norms at all times.
A patient can either call or book an appointment online for their visit to the dental clinic, which gives the dentist sufficient time to sanitize the clinic’s environment and avoid cross-contamination. Limiting the no. of companions a patient brings to the clinic, especially the ones underage and elderly, is of utmost importance, unless of course, they require dental attention. Similarly, a patient must also act responsibly, reducing the no. of external possible contaminated touchpoints by visiting the clinic directly from their residence and returning directly to the same.
With dentists and patients both acting responsibly in the new normal, it is now safe for patients to go ahead and look after their dental care and hygiene requirements by visiting dental clinics that practice dental care with utmost precautions and best practices.