My name is Emily, and I wanted to share my experience during this time of the Covid-19 pandemic. Before the virus, I had my dentist install braces so that my teeth will be straighter. I go every month for cleanings, fillings, and needed extractions. I look forward to these visits because my smile is improving, and my teeth are brighter and whiter.
Then, there's the news that Covid-19 has infected millions of people all over the world. No one expected this, and I would never dream of missing my dental appointments. The dental industry was impacted in a big way because their work includes checking the patients’ mouth and teeth. You can read a guide here from the CDC on what you should do in dental settings in this link here.
The SARS-COV-2 is the name of the coronavirus that causes COVID-19. The symptoms first show in the form of coughing, fever, and muscle fatigue. The transmission is believed to be from the droplets and aerosols people emit when they sneeze or cough. This is why many governments worldwide mandated their people to wear masks, face shields, and personal protective equipment.
Dentists may be returning to business, but because of this respiratory illness that can lead to death, some have modified their approach, and others are taking extra precautions when it comes to appointments.
The World Health Organization even recommends waiting for non-essential dental care during this pandemic to prevent community transmission. Some clinics may still accept non-essential cleaning for patients, but the procedures are not what they used to be.
What I Saw on my Last Visit
Some of the changes that I saw were the following:
- The appointments were all spaced, and instead of an hour interval, I got a three-hour interval which is fine for me. It actually depends. Some clinics like Eschenbach Dental will tell you in advance the time of your schedule. It allowed the staff to do disinfection inside the clinics. This may mean less flexibility for me, but it's better than waiting for months for a visit.
- Before I went to the clinic on the day of my appointment, the staff texted me a series of questions to know if I showed symptoms of COVID-19. They would ask if I could take my temperature at home and whether I went out the day prior. They retook my temperature before entering with a touchless thermometer, and it's all fine.
- They have many fliers and reminders that say that patients who have flu-like symptoms should cancel their appointments. If you are sick, you should reschedule and make sure that you get well first. It's also helpful if you can get a swab test. I never experienced cough, fever, or any other symptoms, so this is no issue for me.
- I was asked to cover my face with a shield and mask all the time before my turn to be treated.
- I noticed that the staff was wearing a lot of protective gear, and they have gowns too. They also tell other people inside the clinics that the masks should cover the nose and suggest the proper ways of wearing a PPE before one sees the dentist.
- Before, the clinics accommodated walk-in clients, but this does not seem to be the case at all now. When it was my schedule, there were only two of us.
- I was asked to wait inside my car when I arrived. They called my phone and signaled me to enter when it was my turn.
- I brought my kids to my appointment in the previous months. However, this is not allowed at this time. If you need a caregiver, they also need to undergo pre-screening tests and temperature checks.
- The magazines that I previously enjoyed reading were removed. There are no other non-essential items, and most chairs are spaced at least a meter apart.
- Before entering the office, there was a washing area outside the clinic. I washed my hands with soap and water for at least a minute, and the staff sprayed alcohol on my hands again. Read more about the importance of washing hands here: https://www.who.int/gpsc/clean_hands_protection/en/.
- No bathrooms were available.
- There were touchless payment options, and I was glad that I didn't have to carry cash with me.
These are just some of the changes that I experienced when I visited my dentist this year. Everyone does not have any idea on when the pandemic is going to end. The important thing is that people should follow health protocols to make everyone safe, which is apparent in a dental clinic.
About the Author: Emily is a writer with a keen interest in health issues and loves to share her experiences with healthcare. She loves reading and blogging besides writing. Emily also shares through various social media channels.