Dentists offices have reopened in Florida with many patients catching up on delayed and/or rescheduled appointments, but they are also worrying about safety.
A study commissioned by the North American Dental Group, a leading U.S. Dental Service Organization, found that 43 percent of Americans have either delayed a dental check-up, a needed dental procedure, or developed a new dental issue during the social distancing period. According to the NADG study, if you are concerned about visiting your dentist, you are not alone.
- 43 percent of patients are concerned if their dentist is following CDC guidelines for containing the spread of COVID-19;
- 40 percent are concerned if their dentist is taking medical precautions to prevent the spread during exams; and
- 40 percent are wondering how the dentist office is screening patients before treatment.
Dr. Mitchell Josephs’ Palm Beach Dentist office says he is prepared and dentists in general are familiar with safety practices.
“Since the 1980s, dentists have been practicing the guidelines of universal precautions, so we already have the gowns, masks, face shields, disposable head covers, surgical caps, so this is not a big stretch for us. There will be some additional precautions, but pretty much, this is how dentists have practiced for decades,” says Josephs, who practices implant cosmetic and general dentistry with an emphasis on implants, veneers and complex crown and bridge treatment. He is on staff at JFK Medical Center and is a faculty advisory board member at McGill University’s dentistry faculty.
Those planning to visit their dentist might want to see if they are following safety practices like the ones at Josephs’ office:
- Dentists and staff are wearing full personal protective equipment (more than they usually wear and changed frequently)
- Patients are being screened regarding recent travel
- Temperatures are taken twice
- Anything that is not a cleanable surface or easily disinfected is removed from the office/waiting room;
- Chair-side checklists include procedures for dentists and staff while in the operatory rooms and until the patient’s room is cleaned and disinfected
- Disposable tips for equipment are used for staff and patients’ protection and safety.
- New and innovative equipment is being used to increase safety.