Bruce Cassis, DDS, MAGD
President, Academy of General Dentistry
Our lives have changed a lot over the past year, but seeing your dentist for routine oral care should continue to be a priority.
Dentists are taking all possible measures to ensure the safety of their patients, staff, and themselves. It’s important patients keep up with their preventive and routine dental care to support their overall health.
It is normal to have anxiety and want to delay your routine dental appointment. Before you decide to do so, contact your dentist to ask about their current operating procedures and how they are working to ensure your safety.
Dentists have adopted new check-in procedures, including screening procedures and social distancing strategies, that are designed to protect patients and staff during dental appointments. In addition, they have been applying extensive infection control standards in their practices for decades and are experienced working in strenuous conditions. Also, they are adhering to guidelines from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and other state and local agencies.
If you have been avoiding going to the dentist, you could be at risk of developing long-term and costly oral health issues. Extenuating issues that are delayed can result in the onset of other medical concerns that impact your overall health.
Your general dentist is not only concerned about your oral health but your overall safety. If you have concerns about the measures your dentist has taken to keep you safe, there are several things you can do to feel comfortable about keeping your routine dental appointment.
For your safety
First, call your dentist to ask questions and schedule an appointment. When you contact your dentist’s office, ask about the safety procedures they have in place. Ask what measures you should take to prepare for your dental appointment.
Just as dentists have enhanced their safety procedures, they depend on their patients to help keep the staff safe when they arrive at their appointments.
Dentists are extremely aware that their patients have anxiety about receiving oral health services during this time. However, patients are encouraged to be smart about at-home dental care, and avoid DIY home remedies to address oral health issues.
The only at-home oral hygiene regimen you should engage in is brushing your teeth for 2 minutes twice daily, flossing, and avoiding sugary foods and liquids. Treating oral health issues alone at home can cause long-term damage to your teeth.
Overall, the best way to feel comfortable about seeing your dentists and to make sure you receive the best oral health care during this time is to contact your dentist and share your concerns, work through your issues, and schedule an appointment.