For months, dental offices had to remain closed due to the ever-growing concerns of COVID-19 and its impact on the community. While many practices are able to reopen, there are certain precautions that need to be taken in order to ensure patients can complete their appointments safely. Whether you need an exam and cleaning or a restorative procedure completed by a prosthodontist in La Mesa, here’s what you can expect before, during and after your appointment.
Prior to Your Visit
In order to make sure patients are healthy before they visit the office, the prosthodontist will need to call you ahead of time so they can complete a pre-screening of your current health. This involves a quick questionnaire regarding your recent travel history and if you have any symptoms that may be related to COVID-19. This includes a persistent cough, fever or shortness of breath.
Furthermore, if you typically bring other people with you to your dental appointment, such as your children, you’ll likely need to keep them at home. Dental offices need to limit the number of people that can be in the office at a given time to reduce the risk of germ transmission. If it’s time for your child’s exam and cleaning, you may need to wait in the car while they complete their appointment with the prosthodontist.
During Your Appointment
When you arrive, the prosthodontist will likely ask that you wear a mask (if you currently have one) up until you’re in the dental chair. Make sure to avoid shaking hands with any of the employees and wait in your car to be called in. You’ll find that the waiting room as been temporarily removed to ensure social distancing measures and make sanitizing the office easier. Be sure to use one of the nearby hand sanitization stations to clean your hands prior to entering the office. As you get comfortable in the dental chair, you’ll notice more surfaces are covered with plastic to make cleaning them easier throughout the day. Once you meet with the prosthodontist and their team, you’ll find that they have added several pieces of personal protective equipment to their attire. This includes N95 & ASTM Level 3 masks, face shields and disposable coats and hats.
After You Leave
Dental employees will be cleaning the office every hour on the hour no matter what, but they make sure to be especially thorough once a patient leaves. They’ll use disinfectants specifically intended to kill all viruses from any surfaces or objects in the operatory. If you start to notice any symptoms related to COVID-19 following your dental appointment, make sure to call the dental office you visited.
Dental appointments are essential for long-term oral health, but you shouldn’t have to put yourself at risk just to get it done. Schedule an appointment today to protect your smile!
About the Author
Dr. Peter F. Johnson takes the current pandemic very seriously, which is why he and his team are taking all the steps necessary to ensure the safety of his patients. This includes stricter sensitization protocols, limiting the number of patients in the office at a time, and additional PPE for himself and his clinical staff. To schedule an appointment, you can contact him through his website.