Dentists taking precautions on reopening
As more and more dentists are reopening their doors after the massive pandemic-prompted shutdown, many still fear the spread of the disease. While their reopening is a godsend for patients who want to get elective procedures such as dental implants, both dentists and staff are worried about contracting the disease. They have good reason to worry as well. The CDC states that the US’s infection numbers have surpassed the three million mark, with over 130,000 dead. The changes that dentists have instituted to help protect their staff may vary.
No Mask, No Service and More
Masks have been proven to prevent the spread of the disease. Unfortunately, state governments have left their use up to consumers, resulting in poor adoption of the practice. Dentist offices have already instituted “No Mask, No Service” rules in place. In addition to these measures, dentist offices have also started using a staggered appointment system. Patients who don’t have an appointment at a scheduled time are advised to wait in their cars. This procedure helps to limit the exposure in enclosed waiting room areas. It also results in the far more efficient management of the dentist’s time. With practices operating on strict opening and closing times, this measure can help the dentist see as many patients as possible in the given window.
Virtual Paperwork and Tele Dentistry
While dentistry is a hands-on job, initial consultations may not need to be done in person. The journal Diabetes & Metabolic Syndrome mentions that more and more dentists are looking into teledentistry because of the COVID 19 crisis. Staff can also spend less time within the office by reverting to virtual paperwork, which can be done from any internet-connected computer. Within dentistry offices, several professionals have opted to include air purifiers in their practices. These purifiers are excellent for scrubbing the air and removing particular matter, but may not be much help in controlling the spread of a virus.
How Long Will It Last?
At current, there are rumors of several companies doing extensive research into a vaccine for the virus. Until the vaccine becomes mainstream and is widely distributed, COVID 19 remains a significant threat that can bring about much more death and untold suffering. The question of how long the situation will last will only be answered once we find a solution. Until we do, we’ll just have to get used to the new way of doing business with the dentist.