How to safely go to the dentist during the pandemic

Shaniqua Juliano

My tongue first detected the problem when it caught a sharp edge on my teeth: A hefty hunk of my back right molar was missing. I’m not sure how it happened, but it meant that after months of avoiding any sort of physical closeness with other people, I needed to brave the dentist’s chair.

With the pandemic raging across the United States, the office I entered in Alexandria, Virginia, looked very different from the one I had visited months before. Two cups of pens sat on the receptionist’s desk, one for “clean” writing utensils and the other for those recently used. A plexiglass partition divided me from the rest of the office behind, and everyone—myself included—donned a mask.

Dental work is a uniquely risky environment for spreading SARS-CoV-2, since medical practitioners work face-to-face with open-mouthed patients for extended periods of time. “We, unfortunately, work in a danger zone,” says Mark

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The Pandemic and the Dentist

Shaniqua Juliano

On March 16, the ADA issued the following statement:

“The American Dental Association recognizes the unprecedented and extraordinary circumstances dentists and all health care professionals face related to growing concern about COVID-19. The ADA is deeply concerned for the health and well-being of the public and the dental team. In order for dentistry to do its part to mitigate the spread of COVID-19, the ADA recommends dentists nationwide postpone elective procedures for the next three weeks. Concentrating on emergency dental care will allow us to care for our emergency patients and alleviate the burden that dental emergencies would place on hospital emergency departments.”

“As health care professionals, it is up to dentists to make well-informed decisions about their patients and practices.”

Various local dental societies have issued statements echoing these recommendations. It is unlikely that these limitations would be lifted soon.

Coronavirus has a global reach, is in over 200

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A visit to the dentist will get expensive. But is it safe to book an appointment during the pandemic?

Shaniqua Juliano

WASHINGTON: Is it safe to visit the dentist during the COVID-19 pandemic? Dentists can’t eliminate all risk, but they are taking steps to minimize the chances of spreading the coronavirus.

You’ll likely notice changes as soon as you enter the office. Many dentists have removed magazines from waiting rooms, for example, as well as some chairs to encourage social distancing.

They also are spacing out appointments to avoid crowding their offices.

You may be asked to arrive for your appointment with a facial covering and to wait in your car until equipment is cleaned and the dentist is ready. Before receiving care, you can also expect staff to take your temperature and ask about COVID-19 symptoms.

Procedures are changing, too.

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Some dentists are charging for all the extra gear, so ask in advance if you should expect extra costs.

Coronavirus is spread mainly through droplets people spray when

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Is It Safe to Go to the Dentist During the Coronavirus Pandemic?

Shaniqua Juliano

Nearly all dentists and oral surgeons stopped seeing patients at the onset of the novel coronavirus pandemic in March; more than 90% of offices closed, canceling or postponing non-essential dental procedures in the process. Dentists have had concerns about spreading SARS-CoV-2, the respiratory illness that leads to a COVID-19 diagnosis, as they directly work over patients in chairs. Dentists in particular often create vaporized aerosols as they work in patient’s mouths, and infectious droplets like these can quickly spread throughout enclosed spaces like an operating room. But nearly three months later, dentists in all 50 states are in the process of reopening their offices — according to the American Dental Association (ADA) — to resume scheduled treatments for their patients.

Going to the dentist will feel vastly different than it has in the past, with new rules aimed at preventing those who may be unknowingly sick from spreading SARS to

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