Austin, TX – Covid-19 has certainly been a long and painful chapter of 2020. A lot of it, the social distancing, wearing masks, watching the news, is a tiring and exhausting process. A lot of people are either sick, fatigued, grieving, and angry, all while trying to find a normal footing in all of this. It can be hard to keep it up some days, but the one spark of hope that we have is that we are all in this together. We are all in the same boat, and we can lean on each other in times like this. All we need to do is both work together and adapt.
Of course there are no other places that have had to adapt drastically than in medical and dental facilities. They are both trying to prevent the spread of the disease while at the same time looking into seeing as many people that need help as much as possible. There is a balancing act there, and what they have done, and are still doing is nothing short of a heroic service, not unlike other essential workers doing their part during this.
So, it would make sense that dental patients need to do their part to prevent the spread of the virus ,as well as, make the lives of essential/medical/dental workers easier by following instructions. But what does that look like and what should dental patients do to prepare for a visit?
Expect to Take Extra Time For your Dental Appointment
It is common practice for most doctor and dental patients to arrive to their scheduled appointment about fifteen minutes to a half hour early. Usually, it is to set aside time for paperwork, or at least handling insurance information. However, thanks to a series of extra safety steps, it will take a longer period of time to prepare for your dental appointment, emergency or not.
For starters, there wouldn’t necessarily be any sitting in a waiting room with other patients. Given that dentists work with saliva, there is a greater risk of them catching the disease, given it is one of the main avenues for this type of virus to spread. So, it would make sense that extra precaution would be necessary. And with enough of those precautions it can eat up more time than the usual sit in the waiting room. The types of precautions that require extra time include:
- Checking Temperatures at the Door
- Keeping Dental Patients Waiting Outside the Office Instead of the Waiting Room
- Disinfecting the Room Between Patients
- Touch-Free Reception and Technological Learning Curves
When you combine these factors, you will notice that it will just take more time before the appointment than usual. So, to ease the burden on both yourself and dental workers, make sure to leave enough wiggle room before the appointment.
Dental Patients Should Expect Different Tools and Procedural Steps
Because safety is often the highest priority in medical and dental fields, there are usually procedures and techniques that are kept in mind for the health of not only themselves and the patient, but for the public at large. As I mentioned before, Covid-19 spreads with saliva and with other bodily fluids. So, dentists have to take extra caution when dealing with a dental emergency or checkup.
That means a change in routine, which can feel a little unnerving for any dental patient who doesn’t know what to expect. While it is certainly important for any dental office to be as courteous as possible, there might be a sudden disconnect with the changes. A disconnect that can feel a little rude or alienating. Just don’t take it personally when a dentist:
- Asks you extra questions during pre-screening
- Gives you an extra rinse to kill any bacteria before the procedure
- Avoids using aerosols and other high speed instruments
- Keeps the conversation to a bare minimum
- Does not give you any extra supplies
All of these things are tactical ways for reducing the spray of saliva, preserving what little protective gear they have, and keeping areas as sterile as possible.
The risk of Covid is at a minimum in dental offices because they are more vigilant at what they do. They understand that health and safety is something that cannot be compromised if they want to see their business and community stay afloat. Now that you know what to expect, maybe you can learn to do your part as a dental patient in Austin, TX.