Written on Thursday, Aug 20, 2020
Is it safe to seek dental care during the covid-19 pandemic?
The covid-19 pandemic certainly took everyone in Raleigh and Goldsboro, NC by surprise. Because of these unprecedented times, we must all do our part to stay safe. For your local dentist’s office this means changing how we provide dental care. Many people feel confused about going to the dentist now. So below, we offer some suggestions according to the guidance provided by the American Dental Association (ADA) and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Can my dentist’s office safely treat me during the covid-19 pandemic?
Whenever we go out into public, we come into contact with germs. Knowing this, your dental office staff know how to keep you safe during your treatment. But covid-19 has made these safety guidelines even more critical for your well-being and theirs. At the most basic, these safety measures include frequent hand washing and tool sterilization. They take these steps between every patient.
Of course, much of the equipment and tools used by dentists today have disposable parts. An example of disposable tools are syringes and injection needles.
Other steps taken by your dentist’s office to keep you safe during the covid-19 pandemic include:
- More frequent surface and tool disinfection
- Sterile storage of tools between uses
- Wearing more protective gear than in the past
- Covering your mouth with a rubber dental dam
Other safety measures include more space between appointments, checking your temperature upon arrival, asking about your symptoms, requiring you to wear a face mask and asking about your recent travel or exposure history. They may also tell you to avoid arriving early for your appointment, not bring children with you and wait outside until your appointment check-in time. Most dental care offices space waiting room seating at least six feet apart and do not keep magazines or toys in those areas, anymore.
All of these safety measures and others like them mean you can see your Raleigh or Goldsboro dentist safely during the covid-19 pandemic. You just need to ensure you follow the safety measures, too. Do not go to the dentist if you have symptoms of illness, such as a cough, fever, shortness of breath or stomach problems. Also reschedule your appointment if you experienced exposure to the coronavirus within the past two weeks or more. Talk to your dentist’s staff before the visit to ensure you understand all of these important rules.
What is elective dental care?
One of the guidelines provided during the recent covid-19 quarantine was a restriction on non-urgent dental treatment. But what are these elective treatments, in case we go through another quarantine in the near future?
Elective dentistry is treatment you do not need to remain healthy. You can put these services off until later as needed, such as while we live in quarantine. Or, if you feel concerned about getting covid-19 or are part of a high-risk group, these are services to avoid scheduling until a later, safer time.
Examples of non-urgent, elective dental care include:
- Routine dental exams
- Teeth cleaning
- Treatment for problems not causing pain
- Teeth whitening
- Braces checkups
- Cosmetic procedures or fixing cosmetic problems
Among non-urgent procedures are tooth removal and cavity care, when these teeth cause you no pain. Talk to your Raleigh or Goldsboro dentist’s office first to know when you should come in for treatment. Simple communication makes everything easier to navigate in this coronavirus pandemic.
What is emergency dentistry?
According to the ADA, you need to seek emergency dental care when the problem is life-threatening, puts you at high risk of infection or causes severe pain. Talk to your dentist to learn whether your condition is urgent.
Examples of emergency treatment includes:
- Intense pain
- Continuing bleeding
- Swollen gums, face or neck
- Broken teeth
- Lost or broken temporary crown
- Pain and swelling, as signs of infection
- Cancer treatment-related dental work
- Non-working dentures
- Painful braces wires
- Breathing-inhibiting trauma
- Post-surgical care for which you need a dentist’s help
Your Next Steps When You Need Dental Treatment during Covid-19
If you need dental treatment, do not hesitate to call your dentist’s office. They will help you understand whether you need immediate care or should wait until some time in the near future. Tell them if you think you were exposed to covid-19 or if you have fever, cough, shortness of breath or other symptoms. Also call the office if you see the dentist and then experience symptoms of coronavirus within 14 days after your appointment.
Have your questions about covid-19 and dental care scheduling answered by people who care about your oral health and overall wellness. Call your nearest Carolina Dental Arts office in Raleigh or Goldsboro today.