These are, without a doubt, unprecedented times.
It seems like every day we’re learning something new about how to cope with the current circumstances.
There’s a lot of information out there on staying safe – unfortunately, there is also a lot of misinformation out there about the virus, how it acts, and how it moves from one person to the next.
These kinds of misunderstandings can often stop people from getting the care that they actually need (whether medical or dental).
As your trusted Denver dentist, we highly suggest that you don’t delay your dental care any longer than absolutely necessary. Remember, your teeth are connected to your overall health and well-being, so let’s take a closer look at some of the current regulations and requirements on dental offices so you can get a better picture of the current situation.
An essential service is usually defined as those that are critical to the health and welfare of the population and so they are allowed (or expected) to maintain operations throughout the pandemic.
The most obvious cases of essential services include health care, law enforcement, food and agriculture, public works, supply chains, and other related industries. This brings us to one important question:
Is Dentistry an Essential Service?
The simplest answer to this question is that some aspects of dentistry are absolutely essential.
Let’s face it, there is almost no pain quite as excruciating as dental pain.
But what about all those other dental services? While it would be hard to call a teeth whitening essential, what about your regular checkups? How critical are they? Should you come in to get a cavity checked, or should you wait until a root canal is your final option?
Obviously, our answer is that there are many dental services that are essential for your ongoing health and pain-free lifestyle.
To that end, we have, of course, taken precautions to ensure your safety and ours so that you can feel comfortable and confident when you come in for your appointment.
Following the CDC’s Recommendations for Dental Offices
The CDC has released several guidelines for dental settings to help prevent problems during the pandemic. These guidelines are extensive, to say the least, so we won’t go over them all here. But we did want to take a look at some of the specifics because we want you to know that we are doing everything possible to provide the care you need in the safest environment possible.
First, it is important to point out that the CDC does recommend postponing elective procedures, surgeries, and non-urgent outpatient visits in certain circumstances. This means prioritizing dental care for the highest need or the most vulnerable patients (i.e. those who may be at serious risk if they don’t receive treatment).
Having said that, though, we are here and ready to provide important dental services. We’ve just added a few of the procedures recommended by the CDC. These recommendations include:
- Contacting all patients prior to the appointment. This will help us screen patients for symptoms of COVID-19 before you come all the way into the office. This is also a chance for us to determine together whether or not it’s time for treatment or if postponement would be prudent.
- Watching for signs and symptoms. Everyone (staff and patients) in the office is expected to follow the general guidelines for minimizing risks of infection. This means wearing face coverings (ask us if you need us to provide one for you) and getting screened when you enter the office for any relevant symptoms.
- Patients with suspected or confirmed cases can be treated but only under very strict precautions. Any staff member with symptoms will be sent home immediately.
- Our staff regularly monitor themselves for fever and other symptoms and are encouraged to put their own health first.
- Implementing control measures. Beyond just using face coverings, there are several things we can do to control the environment. Of course, our staff will wear face coverings at all times, and we will ask patients to wear theirs everywhere except in the dental chair.
- Obviously, a dentist or hygienist is going to get pretty close to you at your appointment. However, we are working to make distancing possible throughout the rest of the office. This means scheduling appointments to minimize the number of people in the waiting room and limiting the number of visitors that accompany the patient.
- Making use of personal protective equipment. There are a lot of new procedures in place at our office. Extreme attention to disinfecting our hands and tools will help maintain a safe environment, and we are careful to follow all the recommendations for proper use and disposal of protective gear.
This is just a sample of all the rules and regulations that dental offices are expected to follow, and at LeDowns Dentistry, we are firmly committed to providing the dental care you need even in these difficult times.
To Postpone or Not to Postpone
As we mentioned earlier, if you’re experiencing any kind of dental emergency, don’t hesitate to call us and set up an immediate appointment.
And, of course, if you are experiencing any symptoms at all related to COVID-19, we recommend calling us before coming in for any kind of appointment, including emergencies.
On the other hand, if you’re healthy, then don’t postpone your dental care any longer than absolutely necessary.
Our office is following procedures, our staff is trained, and we know what has to be done to provide the services you need while keeping everyone safe.