It may have been several months or more since you last brought your child to their dentist’s office because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Although you may be still somewhat fearful of the disease, we hope you can have some peace of mind after reviewing the following information.
#1 NO PROVEN CASES OF COVID-19 CONTRACTED IN A DENTAL OFFICE
Even though dentists are working in your mouth, and the mouth is one pathway for the virus to enter the body, there have been no proven cases of COVID-19 linked to a dental office by either the CDC or the World Health Organization after more than 6 months into the pandemic. “Reputable dental offices are taking every precaution to make sure infection control is more stringent,” said Dr. Lela Farmer of Scuba Smiles For Kids in North Central San Antonio.
#2 EXPECT ADVANCED SCREENING BY THE OFFICE
To add an extra layer of protection, your dental office may contact you ahead of your child’s appointment to ask questions about your family’s health. They will also ask you the same questions when you arrive for your appointment. Mouth Healthy says pediatric dental teams may limit the number of people you can bring to your appointment. The fewer people permitted in an appointment, the easier it is for everyone to social distance.
#3 EXPECT TO SEE NEW PERSONAL PROTECTIVE EQUIPMENT
Dr. Farmer told us, “Dental providers were already well protected before the pandemic, but with the virus still rampant, that level of protection had to be strengthened.” Tell your child not to be surprised if the dentist or hygienist looks like they are wearing a spacesuit when you return to the dentist. The New York Times reports gowns, goggles, masks, and face shields have all been added to the wardrobe of dentists nationwide in an effort to keep their employees and their patients safe and healthy.
#4 ELECTRIC TOOLS MAY BE PUT ASIDE FOR NOW
With the risk of the virus increasing when it becomes aerosolized, dentists are limiting the use of tools that could throw large amounts of fluids into the air. Hand tools will likely be used, which won’t be a significant change for children, since we already use hand tools at Scuba Smiles to help keep them comfortable.
We’ve all heard the phrase “knowledge is power,” and that certainly is the case right now with your pediatric dentist. If you and your child know what to expect upon returning to the dental office, any stress or anxiety about that visit can be limited, or perhaps eliminated.