Is it safe to visit the dentist during covid?
After over a year of dealing with the pandemic in Dubai, we have all gotten very good at taking precautions. Everyone wears a mask in public and keeps a safe distance apart. However, you may still be wondering if it is a good idea to go to the dentist when you will be in such close proximity without your mask for a period of time. Well, rest assured that visiting your dental specialist in Dubai during these difficult covid times is indeed safe. You will find there are certain changes dental clinics have had to make to ensure your safety. Your dentist’s first priority is ensuring that you feel and are safe during your next visit. In order to practice, they will need to comply with the government and world health guidelines on best practices covid-19 safety procedures, and are up to date with the latest directives on running a dental clinic in Dubai during the ongoing pandemic.
At Dr. Roze & Associates Dental Clinics, we want you to be fully comfortable with your next dental appointment, and we will take the time to review with you what to expect and what the procedures will be before you even walk through the door of your dental practitioner. We believe that when it comes to your health and the health of your family, you deserve to be completely informed and equipped with the right knowledge in order to make the decisions that are in your own best interest and the best interest of your family. Let us then try to explain the safety measures that dentists in Dubai have had to put in place and help you understand why you should not put off your regular visits:
Dental clinics have already been practicing excellent infection control so they are highly proficient in sanitation measures.
Even before the pandemic, dental clinics have been practicing excellent infection control measures. All dental staff have been wearing masks and gloves while treating patients and have regular protocols in place for disinfection and disposal. The pandemic brought on a higher level of measurements to keep patients and the dental teams even safer. Dental staff are now required to undergo training for covid-19 safely in the workplace with new, even stricter protocols in place.
Dental clinics have added several covid-19 precautions.
What you may notice when you visit the dental clinic, that has been implemented since the pandemic, are the amount of socially-distanced practices in place. You will find more clear plastic partitions between patients and staff in the common areas and a high level of sanitizing that occurs on a regular basis and between all patient visits in waiting areas and toilets. You will find there is a pre-screening questionnaire – a quick check to make sure you have not had a cough, fever or contact with anyone infected with covid-19. You will also find that the dental clinic will book fewer patients at a time in order to limit the number of interactions in the office. There will also be limited seating in the waiting areas – you will rarely see more than one other person there at one time. And behind the scenes, most dental offices will rotate the room that is in use to allow for a deep cleaning,and have increased their ventilation throughout the clinic to prevent any pockets of stale air with specialised air filters throughout the clinic..
There are also infection control practices that are specific to the dental industry that are now common practice. These include:
- Steam sterilisation (autoclaving) of instruments, and the accompanying testing, monitoring and maintenance of equipment to ensure the autoclave works efficiently at all times.
- More single-use items (for items which are difficult to decontaminate)
- Maintenance of clean waterlines, therefore protecting water quality
- Utilisation of handpieces with anti-retraction valves to reduce risk of transmission of pathogenic organisms
- Specific decontamination protocols related to specialised equipment and devices
- Specific decontamination procedures relating to dental impressions and devices that are worn in the mouth
Additional safety measures that have been put into place.
You will find when you visit the dental clinic that there are other safeguards that the clinics are working with to keep patients extra safe such as staggered check-in times and temperature checks. Depending on the office set-up, some clinics are also allowing patients to wait in their cars until their appointment time rather than use the waiting rooms inside. Staff will also wear protective clear visors on top of masks and protective wear over clothing.
Avoiding the dentist is much more of a health concern.
The prolonged period that people have been staying at home has been bad for people’s diets. There is an increased intake of fast foods, sweets and carbonated drinks. Dentists have definitely been noticing the difference.
With all of the safety measures in place, you are far more at risk of health problems if you delay or avoid going to see your dental specialist. The risk of developing gum disease or cavities is much higher than your risk of contacting covid-19. If you have any conditions like a cracked filling, a loose crown or a toothache, these conditions can worsen and cause more problems in the long run. You shouldn’t delay any dental treatment if you have any concerns. You should also make sure you see your hygienist for your regular cleanings to keep your mouth healthy during this pandemic. Your mouth health is important to your body’s heath so make sure to keep it in good shape.
Healthcare experts worldwide agree that neglecting your mouth can have a severe outcome. The top 3 oral conditions that impact overall health are: tooth decay, severe gum disease and severe tooth lose. Consequently, these conditions, if left untreated, can cause bacteria to enter the bloodstream and possibly lead to: heart infection (endocarditis), lung infection and damage to mouth and teeth.
Dentists have proven to be in the lowest percentage of covid-19 sufferers.
In a recent (May 2021) study by the ADA (American Dental Association), it was reported that less than 1% of dentists in the US have been found to be covid-19 positive, which is far less than that of other healthcare professionals. The study has been citied as influential in demonstrating what practices work in fighting the virus. Because dentists are following such strict guidelines for sanitization, it has helped to keep themselves, their team and their patients as safe as possible.
Ask your questions to find out what your dental clinic is doing to keep you safe.
Before you make an appointment, ask your dental clinic about their infection control practices including what will happen throughout your visit to the clinic. You can inquire about how patients are screened, the procedures involved for sterilizing and how they practice social distancing. What filters are in place? What protective equipment the staff uses? You should feel safe going to visit your dental specialist at all times and comfortable that your clinic has taken all safety measures to keep you that way.
In the meantime, take good care of your teeth at home.
At all times between your dental visits, it is very important to look after your teeth the best way you can. Here are some good practices that may be helpful:
- Be sure to brush at least twice per day, using a gentle, circular motion. If you’ve just eaten, wait 30 minutes before brushing, since highly acidic or starchy food can soften your enamel. Don’t forget to brush your tongue – bacteria love to accumulate here.
- Remove plaque by flossing at least once a day. Gently move the floss up and down the sides of each tooth, as well as around the gum line.
- After brushing and flossing, rinse with water. You can also use antibacterial or fluoride mouthwash (avoid giving fluoride rinses to children younger than six). Since different people can benefit from different rinses, speak with your dentist about which product is best for you.
- Replace your toothbrush every three to four months, or when you see the brush head is getting worn.
- Avoid snacking on sugary or acidic foods.
- Swap sugary beverages like juice or fizzy drinks for mineral water.
- Chew sugar-free gum (with xylitol) to stimulate saliva production. Saliva is one of your mouth’s best natural defenses against bacteria and plaque.
If you have been putting off your dental care needs due to the covid-19 situation, we want you to know that you and your loved ones can safely visit the Dr. Roze & Associate Dental Clinics for all types of oral care procedures and dental treatments. Our team of dental professionals is ready to provide the level of care and attention that you are accustomed to when in our care, along with our comprehensive set of safety measures, sterilization processes and protective protocols we have implemented during the covid-19 pandemic.
At Dr. Roze & Associates, your comfort and safety is our highest priority. If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to speak to us at any time.