If you’re looking to get preventive dental care during the COVID-19 coronavirus outbreak, you may be wondering how dentists are keeping their patients safe from this infectious virus at their appointments. In this blog, we’ll take a look at a few guidelines that dentists are implementing based on OSHA and CDC recommendations. Wondering what your next dental appointment with Dr. Walton may look like? Read on.
The CDC has recommended that dentists introduce questionnaires for patients to fill out before their appointments. In these questionnaires, patients must answer questions about whether they’ve experienced any symptoms like a dry cough, fever, or shortness of breath, whether they’ve traveled internationally or to a high-risk area within 14 days, and if they’ve had contact with anyone who tested positive for COVID-19. Temperature checks are also being introduced at many dental offices to identify patients who may be sick.
Similar steps are also being used to check employees, who are also a potential infection vector for COVID-19. Employees at dental offices are being asked to have periodic health and temperature checks to ensure they are healthy.
Social distancing has been recognized by the CDC as one of the most effective ways to prevent the spread of COVID-19 coronavirus. Because of this, most dentists have reconfigured their waiting areas to maximize the distance between patients, and materials like pamphlets, magazines, and other frequently-touched objects have been removed from waiting rooms. In addition, many dentists are allowing patients to wait in their cars until it’s time for their appointment.
In addition, it’s suggested that dentists space out appointments throughout the day and see fewer patients throughout each day in order to reduce the number of people in the office at any given time.
The CDC recommends that all dental staff members, including front office staff, wear masks to help reduce the risk of COVID-19 spread. Dental staff members are to wear face shields, N95 masks, protective glasses, gowns, and disposable gloves when treating patients.
All used PPE is to be left in the operatory where it was used to be properly disposed of or sanitized. This helps minimize the risk of cross-contamination.
The CDC has emphasized the importance of hand hygiene and proper infection control protocols when treating dental patients, including hand washing before and after treating a patient, when taking off or putting on gloves, or after touching any potentially-infected equipment or surfaces. All dental team members are to follow stringent infection control and hand hygiene protocols when working with patients.
The CDC has recommended waiting 15 minutes after a patient exits an operatory, and then cleaning all hard surfaces, replacing chair barriers, and sanitizing the area to remove any respiratory droplets. Dentists are also to follow all standard OSHA, CDC, and ADA protocols for cleaning, sanitizing, or disposing of used dental tools and equipment.
Additionally, common surfaces like doorknobs, bathrooms, seating, countertops, and other such surfaces are to be regularly sanitized with an EPA-registered disinfectant.
At Walton Family Dentistry, we will be following all CDC, ADA, and OSHA-recommended precautions to keep you safe when we begin accepting new patients and offering routine dental care. To see when we will have appointments available and to get a status update, feel free to give us a call at (502) 350-1151 or contact us online.