How to Stay Protected from COVID-19 during a Dentist Appointment

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How to Stay Protected from COVID-19 during a Dentist Appointment

June 01
16:10 2020


Infection control has always been a top priority for dental practices. Infection control processes are in place so that when you receive care, it is both comfortable and safe. The emphasis on this is now more prevalent than ever in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. We interviewed one of the nation’s top orthodontists and asked what dentists are doing to prevent COVID in their practices and how you can stay protected during your next dentist appointment.


The Powers That Be

“Despite the measures that dental practices already take to ensure staff and patients and kept safe, some are taking even further precautions to protect and establish a new normal,” says Dr. Dina Stappert, a board-certified orthodontist and owner of Roland Park Orthodontics in Baltimore, MD. 

“Infection control recommendations that dental practices follow are made by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and by the American Dental Association (ADA) and following these recommendations is a great starting point for protecting staff, patients and visitors in a dental practice.” Dr. Stappert explained.

Beyond the Starting Point

“Given the current state of the world as it relates to the pandemic, those recommendations are just a starting point, and using technology and a consolidated effort between patients, doctors, and staff, we can all take extra steps to take care of each other.” We’ve outlined below some of the ways dental practices are going the extra mile and what you can do to help.

Patients – Doing your part

  • If you’ve had symptoms of fever, cough, diarrhea, flu-like symptoms, shortness of breather or impaired taste/smell in the past 14 days, or contact with anyone that has, please be proactive and reschedule your appointment for a later time.
  • Don’t crowd the waiting area, instead, opt to protect yourself and others by waiting outside or in your vehicle until the time of your appointment
  • Let your doctor know if you are predisposed to a severe case of COVID-19 so you can be isolated from others and taken straight to a treatment room, avoiding and close contact with others.
  • Brush your teeth at home before your braces or Invisalign appointment, as brushing stations are likely closed in the office.
  • Practice social distancing – if you arrive and see other patients, keep 6 feet of distance between you.
  • Wash your hands and practice good hygiene throughout your day. If the germs were visible, you’d surely wash them!
  • Ask questions. it’s important for you to know what precautions your dental practice is taking to protect you, and they should have no problem answering that to provide further comfort.

Doctors and Staff – Be Vigilant and go the extra mile

  • Always protect yourself and exercise best practices when donning and doffing your PPE. Self-contamination from improper removal of gloves, masks, or gowns is a big threat given the sense of security having the PPE on provides. Be meticulous with hand disinfection protocols.
  • Screen yourselves, visitors, and patients before entering your practice. Using an infrared thermometer to check for fever is a quick way to add another level of protection to the safe environment we are all trying to protect.
  • Don’t overbook timeslots to further avoid any gathering of patients waiting together. Build in a buffer for each appointment to allow for any speedbumps you might experience along the way. Use the spare time, if available, to:
  • Be proactive by reaching out to appointments the day before to remind them of any new policies in place and answer any questions they may have about it.
  • Consider provisions to wash and dry work uniforms in practice, so you aren’t taking anything out of the office to your home.
  • Consider the need for an additional autoclave to keep up with the sterilization demands of the office and to comply with OSHA’s latest COVID-19 guidelines.

Where technology can help

Besides just isolating the patient treatment areas with physical barriers, there are technological advances available that can help purify any air circulation within the walls of dental practices. “Ionizing air purifiers and UV Light Disinfection is an affordable and environmentally friendly method for killing bacteria, mold, fungi, and viruses without the use of more chemicals,” says Dr. Stappert.

“It’s important that we take these extra steps now, these are quick and easy solutions that we can implement now that will have long-lasting effects on practices going forward.”

Media Contact
Company Name: Roland Park Orthodontics
Contact Person: Dr. Dina Stappert
Email: Send Email
Phone: (410) 296-4400
City: Baltimore
State: Maryland
Country: United States

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