Do you have a compromised immune system? Are you over the age of 65? If you fall into either of these categories, you are considered to be most “at-risk” for contracting COVID-19. This highly contagious virus has caused a global pandemic, forcing people throughout the world to remain at home, wear face masks when venturing out for basic necessities, and practice the newly-coined term “social distancing” when around others. For months, dentist offices closed, seeing only patients with dental emergencies, but now that they’re open, you may be wondering, “Is it safe?” Read on to hear from a dentist in North Naples who is answering some of the most common concerns of at-risk patients like yourself.
How Can I Better Protect Myself Against COVID-19?
There are 3 things you can do to ensure you remain healthy as well as protect others during this time:
- Stay home as much as possible
- If you must leave the house for necessities (i.e. groceries), make sure to wear a face mask
- Practice social distancing (staying at least 6 feet apart) when around others
These are basic guidelines put forth by The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) that all individuals should follow until COVID-19 is no longer a threat.
What Should I Do if I Need to See a Dentist?
If you need a regular dental checkup and cleaning, it may be possible to postpone your visit until a later date; however, if you require more complex dental treatment, it is best if you seek the help you need instead of putting it off. Why? Because if you wait, you could be faced with more severe problems that will likely result in timely and costly dental work.
If you are concerned about the potential for contracting COVID-19 during your visit, it is advised that you check with your dentist’s office to find out which dental safety protocols in North Naples are being implemented. You may be surprised to learn that your dentist is offering special hours for individuals who are considered at-risk.
Is It Safe to See a Dentist?
Dentist offices have always been one of the cleanest places to visit, and now with the additional guidelines recommended by the CDC, the American Dental Association (ADA), and the Occupational Safety & Hazard Administration (OSHA), you can feel even more confident about your upcoming visit.
Whether you are “at-risk” or not, the health and safety protocols many dentists are putting into place encompass everything from increased sanitation efforts and wearing personal protective equipment (PPE) to pre-screening patients and installing HEPA-grade filters to the HVAC system.
Is Staff Being Cleared for Work Regularly?
While it is impossible to test every staff member for COVID-19 each day, your dentist is taking steps to ensure everyone who arrives for work is healthy and free of any symptoms. From daily temperature checks and questionnaire screenings to additional PPE and changing into and out of work attire while at the office, you can feel comfortable knowing your dental team is ready to help improve your smile.
Will There Be Multiple Patients in the Office?
Most dentists are now expanding patient appointments. Why? Not only does this allow for additional dental care to be performed during your visit, but it also keeps the number of people in the office low. This practice means fewer individuals are seen each day, however, it does allow for more thorough questioning and examining, should your dentist find something that needs to be addressed.
Don’t let fear keep you from getting the dental work you need. Speak to a member of your dental team today to find out how you can take advantage of the special hours designated for at-risk patients.
About the Author
Dr. Mark Makram understands that as an at-risk patient, you have concerns about returning for regular or elective dental care right now. With the threat of COVID-19 still present, dentists are doing even more to better protect both patients and staff. If you are worried about the potential for transmission, speak to a member of Dr. Makram’s dental team to find out about the various safety protocols being implemented to ensure everyone remains safe during their visit. You may also visit our website or call (239) 513-9990.