Under normal conditions, dentists follow a strict set of protocols to ensure that patients are protected from infection when visiting for care. Because COVID-19 presents such unique challenges, the Center for Disease Control (CDC) has issued some specific guidelines to be followed for the protection of patients and dental professionals. As you continue reading, learn about some of the steps your dentist in Clintonville is taking to ensure you can receive care in a safe environment.
Obtaining Your Medical History
Typically, at your first visit, a dental assistant or hygienist will ask you some questions about the current state of your health. However, with the threat of COVID-19, even more precautions will be taken. Thus, you may be asked specific questions about medications, current illnesses, hepatitis, recurrent illnesses, unintentional weight loss, lymphadenopathy (disease of the lymph nodes), oral tissue lesions or other infections. If there is a history of active infection or systemic disease, a medical consultation may be required before receiving care.
You can count on your dentist and staff thoroughly washing their hands between patient treatment contacts and touching any inanimate objects that may be contaminated. For non-surgical procedures, plain soap will suffice. For surgical procedures, an antimicrobial surgical hand scrub will be used.
Your dentist will also take special precautions to prevent any hand injuries during procedures. If a pair of gloves are torn, cut or punctured, the dentist will remove them immediately, and wash his or her hands thoroughly before regloving.
Protective Attire and Barrier Techniques for Heightened Safety
Here are some of the other protective measures that will be taken:
- Gloves worn when touching blood, saliva or mucous membranes or soiled items
- Surgical masks and protective eyewear or chin-length plastic face shields worn to prevent splashing or spattering of fluids
- The wearing of reusable or disposable gowns, laboratory coats or other types of protective uniforms
- The placement of Impervious-backed paper, aluminum foil or clear plastic wrap to cover surfaces
- Where possible, the use of rubber dams (protective facial covering for the patient), high-speed evacuation (system for rapidly removing saliva) and proper patient positioning
The Type of Care Currently being Provided
In most states, dentists are only providing emergency dental care. These situations require a heightened sense of urgency. It’s good to know, though, that your dentist in Clintonville and his or her staff will take every precaution to ensure your safety while having your oral health restored. Therefore, you won’t have to worry about being infected with COVID-19. Furthermore, it provides a barrier of safety for the health professionals who are on the front lines.
Even in the midst of a virus that has rocked America, you can count on receiving expert, compassionate and safe care from your local dentist.
About the Author
Dr. Eric Buck is a graduate of The Ohio State University College of Dentistry. A consummate learner, he has remained steadfast in his commitment to expanding his knowledge by taking hours of continued education, while also giving back by serving as a faculty member at Spear Education. During the COVID-19 crisis, Dr. Buck is only providing emergency dental care, and doing so in a careful and measured manner. He restores oral health to normal at Creative Smiles, and he can be reached for more information through his website.