Both my husband and I wanted to visit our dentist for our annual teeth cleaning back in June. We called in advance to see what changes the office had implemented for the safety and health of their patients. They explained the changes they had made and we felt comfortable enough to schedule our appointment.
Once we arrived, we checked in, waited in the car until we were called in, then had our temperatures checked and were quizzed about any Covid exposure. The Dental staff was following all the required ADA and CDC guidelines. With newly improved air filtration and walled rooms in their new office, they were able to separate patients to keep them and the staff safe. You could sense that while they were being very careful and cautious, they did not make patients feel like “Typhoid Mary”.
My husband and I were quite comfortable and so had no reservations about going in once we saw how careful the office staff was.
I did talk to the staff and they told me that they have been very busy for the last 6 months with the back log from the shutdown. But now they are starting to see a lull in the hygiene department, which is down to about 60% busy while the doctors are still at 95% busy.
But we need to keep in mind that there are several valid reasons for this. There is still no face-to-face learning in some school systems, some people are on strict budgets due to a loss of a job and cannot afford dentistry for themselves or their children, those that have lost jobs also have lost their dental insurance coverage. These very practical reasons have even forced some parents of school children to postpone getting their children’s school dental check-up.
It is often the hygiene department getting people in for their cleanings that really helps to find and drive the restorative and other types of dental work for the dentists.
Is it safe to go to the dentist? That is entirely up to you, but I have to believe that if you wear your mask, and wash your hands often and your dental office is compliant with the ADA guidelines, then it should be safe to go back to your dentist. Most dentists not only adhere to the recommended guidelines, but even go beyond them if they can. As for openings with your hygienist, now is a great time to get the appointment time you really want.