COVID-19 Safety And Dentistry
The year, 2020 had a treacherous surprise for us all. In March 2020, the World Health Organization declared a worldwide pandemic and life since hasn’t quite been the same. The coronavirus transmission was rapid and accompanied by great devastation and expectedly, the forecasts seemed bleak. Although the pandemic exerted enormous pressure on our society, these coercions also ebbed and flowed with the disease’s progress.
Today, as the world embraces the ‘new normal’ with the development of a cashless society and an increase in remote work, we’ve also been pushed to accept a new form of healthcare, especially dental. As COVID-19 cases again continue to surge across the U.S., dental visits become an irrefutable issue. The CDC recognizes that dental settings have a unique set of characteristics that warrant specific infection control.
What is COVID-19 and how is it transmitted?
If you’ve been in the loop, you’ve probably scoured the Internet for information on the unspeakable “C-word”. The outbreak, as we know it, originated in Huanan Seafood Wholesale Market in Wuhan City where environmental samples were first tested positive for SARS-CoV-2, the virus responsible for the disease, COVID-19.
Coronaviruses are a family of deadly infective viruses that are known to cause minor symptomatic illnesses like the common cold. However, on the other end of the spectrum, these killer viruses are also responsible for major epidemics in the past like the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) outbreak of 2003 and the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) outbreak of 2015.
Commonly transmitted through airborne traffic such as droplet release from coughs, sneezes, or speech, this highly contagious condition manifests as night fever, dry cough, tightness of the chest, sore throat, and a loss of taste and smell.
Why is dentistry a risky profession?
The dental industry has been massively hit by the coronavirus outbreak. Confirmed by the WHO to be one of the riskiest jobs in the forefront of contracting coronavirus, this poses an enormous threat to the mitigation of the outbreak. This, however, is no fluke.
Dental settings not only carry the risk of favorably harboring the virus but may also accelerate the rate of transmission between dental practitioners and patients. Some common aerosol-generating procedures (AGP) like the use of high-speed handpieces or ultrasonic instruments for teeth cleaning may contribute to a higher risk for cross-contamination.
Aerosols are a collection of microorganisms that linger in the air for extended periods of time. Suctions, sprays, or drills when used in the mouth for simple cleaning can cause the formation of aerosol and splatter. Furthermore, dental patients who sneeze, cough, or receive AGPs can make their saliva or blood aerosolize, and since COVID-29 spreads through droplet transmission, this poses a clear threat to the staff and other patients.
Is it safe to visit the dentist?
The ADA House of Delegates passed a policy stating dentistry as essential healthcare. This means that even as an individual in the midst of an outbreak, you should not neglect your dental hygiene. But if visiting the dentist is such a hazardous feat, does that mean you avoid going altogether? No.
Even before the pandemic, dental clinics upheld strict and rigorous hygiene protocols. At Angel Dental Care, we make sure that our entire team wears protective gear including gloves, surgical masks, and goggles for eye protection to minimize the risk of transmitting viruses. Additionally as recommended by the ADA, we have newly enhanced our safety precautions so it is completely safe to visit!
What are we doing to prevent COVID-19 spread?
In this almost post-pandemic era, we continue to keep up with extra safety measures to ensure proper care for our patients.
- Appointments: Telephonic screening of all patients is done prior to giving you an appointment. It is best for you to book an appointment with us beforehand to minimize the number of patients in the waiting area, hence endorsing the act of social distancing.
- Screening: The temperature and pulse oximeter reading of anyone entering the clinic is recorded for screening purposes.
- Eliminating shared spaces: Chairs and benches are placed 6 feet apart in the waiting room. In cases when you’re early for your appointment, you may be asked to wait in your car until the previous patient has left the premises.
- Attention to sanitation: All the instruments used by our dentists have been sanitized before your arrival. All hared spaces and non-disposable equipment will be disinfected thoroughly after use.
- Use of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE): Our dental care team makes use of PPE including hairnets, face shields, gloves, and full-body gowns and suits when they work. PPE is changed after treating each patient.
These are unprecedented times and since there hasn’t been a previous primer to ready us for this post-pandemic era of living, it is important for us to take necessary precautions to continue living in safety and harmony. At Angel Dental of El Monte, our patient’s comfort and safety are our utmost priority! Call us for an appointment at 626-444-2002