As the Coronavirus has continued to disrupt businesses and routines across the globe, people must stay at home and quarantine. However, during a global pandemic, people will still encounter dental concerns that require treatment. What counts as an elective dental procedure during quarantine? How can you protect yourself when visiting the dentist? Learn how to stay safe and when to visit the dentist during this global pandemic.
Elective Dental Procedures vs. Essential Dental Procedures
Elective dental procedures are procedures that are not emergency procedures and do not need to be completed in a timely manner. Examples of elective dental procedures might include veneers or braces on a patient with an aesthetic deformity rather than a functional deformity (bite deformity, etc). Essential dental procedures include root canal procedures, gum grafting, braces for bite or functional deformities, and other dental surgeries to correct current problems.
The American Dental Association (ADA) and the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommend that all dentists postpone their elective procedures. Ask your dental office if they are providing elective dental services. Consider visiting a dental office that is only offering essential services during this time for the best protection. If you need an essential procedure performed, we recommend scheduling during this time while also taking extra precautions.
Protecting Yourself at the Dental Office
Most dental offices are not allowing any patients who have possible COVID-19 symptoms to come into the office for an appointment. If you have potential COVID-19 symptoms, stay at home. If you are going to be visiting the dentist, make sure that you bring disinfectant and disinfect your hands before and after your visit. We also recommend asking your dentist if a 1% hydrogen peroxide solution is available at the office. Rinsing with a 1% hydrogen peroxide solution can help to kill the virus.
Taking precautions during quarantine also means that you should arrive at your dental office with a mask. Wearing a mask is one way to help protect yourself from the virus as well as protect others. However, at the dental office patients will need to remove their mask to undergo treatment. Washing your hands thoroughly before and after treatment is important. It is also important as to your clothes that you wear to the office when you return home. We recommend avoiding touching the counters, doors, or seat handles while at the dentist’s office.
We also recommend avoiding the dental office if you have an immunocompromised person living with you at home. If you live with anyone over the age of 60 or 70, we also recommend staying at home when possible. It can be dangerous to expose people in this age bracket or those with underlying conditions to the virus. If you are in this age bracket, ask your dentist directly whether or not the dental procedure is necessary for you. We only recommend dental visits during the quarantine for those in good physical health.
What About Routine Yearly Dental Appointments?
Dentists recommend a yearly dental appointment for a routine dental cleaning. You might be wondering if your yearly cleaning should be rescheduled during the global pandemic. We recommend rescheduling your yearly cleaning if you have a history of healthy teeth and gums. No need to come into the office for a standard cleaning if a delay of a few months won’t harm your teeth or gums. However, if you are prone to excessive plaque or have gingivitis and other health concerns, it may be best to come in for your treatment sooner rather than later. Consider postponing your appointment for a few weeks, but then we recommend making the visit. Ask your dental office how they feel about your current oral records and whether or not you would benefit from the teeth cleaning.
Visiting the dentist’s office during a global pandemic doesn’t have to be stressful if you take precautions. If you have any questions about whether or not your procedure or dental visit should occur, contact your dentist to ask how urgent and important the procedure would be to your health.