So far, you’ve been doing a good job of adhering to the CDC’s guidelines of social distancing and wearing a mask and gloves whenever you have to leave your house. One day your dentist calls you during quarantine and reminds you that it’s time for your next checkup and cleaning. When you arrive at the office for your dental appointment, you notice that your dentist’s team is asking you to do so many things that you wouldn’t have to do normally. Keep reading to learn how these additional precautions can help prevent COVID-19.
Why Do I Have to Rinse My Mouth Out?
When your dentist uses certain tools to treat you, particles called dental aerosols are produced. Dental aerosols contain blood, saliva, and germs that are in your mouth. They can float in the air for quite some time before falling to the ground. During that time, they may infect the dental team or the patients who sit in the chair after you. Rinsing with mouthwash helps kill the germs in your mouth to minimize the risk of infection.
Why Do I Have to Wash My Hands?
There are an estimated 1500 bacteria living on every square centimeter of skin on your hands. For this reason, it couldn’t hurt to scrub your hands with soap and water before beginning your appointment and touching surfaces in the office.
Why Are They Taking My Temperature?
Your dentist’s staff wants to make sure that you don’t have a high fever, which is one of the symptoms of the coronavirus. So, they’ll take your temperature with a non-contact thermometer. If you do have a fever, they’ll know that they have to follow additional safety protocols when treating you.
Why Do I Have to Wait in My Car?
Waiting rooms are filled with magazines, toys, and other activities that people frequently touch. For this reason, they can rapidly become breeding grounds for germs. When you wait in your car until the dentist is ready to see you, you can walk straight past that area and straight into the operatory, bypassing the waiting room.
Why Is the Dentist Wearing So Much Extra Gear?
Your dentist and their team are wearing an increased amount of personal protective equipment (PPE), such as face shields, shoe coverings, hair caps, and protective gowns. This creates more layers between you and the team members. It then becomes much more difficult for germs to penetrate these layers, protecting both you and the team from infection.
Your dentist has all of these extra practices set in place in order to keep you safe from COVID-19. You can rest easy knowing that you can attend your checkup with an incredibly low risk of infection. For more information on how your dentist is keeping their patients safe, go on their website or give them a call.
About the Author
Dr. Hisham Barakat is a dentist in Vienna, VA who is also a Master of the Academy of General Dentistry and a Fellow of the American Academy of Implant Dentistry. Because he cares deeply about his patients’ safety, his practice has taken several precautionary measures in order to reduce the risk of infection. To learn more about Dr. Barakat’s dental expertise and how to keep yourself safe during COVID-19, visit his website or call (703) 207-0700.