Most people have significant anxiety regarding returning to their dentist’s office due to the pandemic. The American Dental Association (ADA), along with the Center for Disease Control (CDC) have developed information based on research to help relieve this anxiety.
The top priority of any dental office is to protect both the patients and dental team. In general, almost all offices have made significant changes to their safety protocols due to COVID. Dental practices are already held to a very high standard, but these infection control protocols have been enhanced to help manage patient safety in today’s world.
What Is Being Done Differently:
Although specifics can vary from practice to practice, there are a number of things that you may notice upon visiting the dentist that have changed. Your dentist and staff will be wearing an increased level of personal protective equipment (PPE) which include masks, face shields, goggles and long-sleeved coats or gowns.
Cleaning protocols have also changed to include disinfectants known to kill the virus that causes COVID-19. You may also notice that frequently touched items such as magazines and refreshments have been removed from the office to help reduce spreading of the disease via contact. In addition, items such as doorknobs, countertops, writing utensils and clipboards are cleaned before and after each patient use.
Arriving and leaving your appointment may also be different than what you have experienced in the past. To help reduce exposure between patients, many practices are asking patients to wait in their cars until being called in for the appointment. This allows time for the previous patient to leave and for proper office disinfection before you enter. Patients are also being asked to wear masks to the appointment and limiting additional people to joining them (many practices are not allowing any additional people to attend the visit). A screening may be performed prior to entering the office which may include having your temperature taken.
Many practices have taken additional actions to help thwart the spread of COVID-19. We have added dedicated entrance and exit only doors to help eliminate crossing paths with other patients. Air Scrubbers have been added and are a key purifier in our practice. These scrubbers have a UV filtering system in the AC lines which helps purify the air and attacks contaminates on all surfaces. UV lamps are also placed in strategic points in the office to help with disinfection. During procedures we utilize high power HEPA suctions to grab aerosols from the mouth before they can get into the office air.
Continuing to visit with your dentist for regular evaluations and treatment is critical to maintaining a healthy mouth. Protocols are in place to help make the dental office a safe place to visit. It is important to remember to stay home if you have been feeling sick 24 hours prior to your visit, have a fever or have a sick family member at home. Working together we can help stop the spread of the virus and continue to maintain our oral health.
Lee R. Cohen, D.D.S., M.S., M.S., is a Dual Board Certified Periodontal and Dental Implant Surgeon. He is a graduate of Emory University and New York University College of Dentistry.
Dr. Cohen completed his surgical training at the University of Florida / Shands Hospital in Gainesville, Florida. He served as Chief Resident and currently holds a staff appointment as a Clinical Associate Professor in the Department of Periodontics and Dental Implantology. Dr. Cohen lectures, teaches and performs clinical research on topics related to his surgical specialty.
The focus of his interests are conservative approaches to treating gum, bone and tooth loss. He utilizes advanced techniques including the use of the Periolase Dental Laser (LANAP procedure) to help save teeth, dental implants, regenerate supporting bone and treat periodontal disease without the use of traditional surgical procedures. Additionally,
Dr. Cohen is certified in Pinhole Gum Rejuvenation, which is a scalpel and suture free procedure to treat gum recession with immediate results.
Dr. Cohen uses in-office, state of the art 3D Green 2 CT imaging which offers Hi Resolution 5 Second Low Dose Scans to develop the least invasive dental implant and bone regeneration treatment options.
Dr. Cohen and his facility are state certified to perform both IV and Oral Sedation procedures. Botox® and Dermal Fillers are also utilized to enhance patients’ cosmetic outcomes.
Dr. Cohen formerly served on the Board of Trustees for the American Academy of Periodontology and the Florida Dental Association. He is past president of the Florida Association of Periodontists and the Atlantic Coast District Dental Association. Dr. Cohen is a member of the American College of Maxillofacial Implantology and the American Academy of Facial Esthetics. In addition, he has been awarded Fellowship in the American College of Dentists, International College of Dentists and the Pierre Fauchard Academy.