As the weather cools and people move indoors, the numbers for COVID-19 are increasing, but it is not a good idea to put off needed dental treatments and regular check-ups. Your oral health is a strong indicator of your overall health, so it is important to visit your dentist with confidence during this time.
A recent American Dental Association Science & Research Institute and Health Policy Institute study found that the COVID-19 rate among dentists nationwide was less than 1 percent. The study concluded that the precautions dentists were taking — including heightened infection control and increased attention to patient and dental team safety — are working.
During the six-week COVID-19 closure, Enlighten Dental Care made many changes to our practice to keep our patients and staff safe. These included:
- Renovation of the front office to add plexiglass barriers to decrease risk of aerosol transmission
- Scanning all patient charts to become paperless and avoid any virus transmission via paper
- The addition of a pressurized room with a HEPA filter similar to those found in hospital settings
- Upgrades to both commercial air filters to the highest MEVA (filtering capacity) for the existing HVAC systems.
- Streamlining procedures so that all of the patient’s scheduling, accounting, paying, etc., are done in one room in order to create social distancing and contactless departure.
In addition, we screen our team through a series of questions and temperature checks each day and screen each patient upon arrival.
While the COVID-19 numbers continue to rise, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends several ways to keep yourself — and those around you — safe.
- Know how COVID-19 spreads. It is mostly spread by people who are in close contact with one another through respiratory droplets when people cough, sneeze, breathe, sing or talk.
- Wash your hands often. Wash with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after you have been in a public place, or after blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing. If soap and water aren’t available, use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60 percent alcohol
- Avoid close contact. Put 6 feet of social distance between yourselves and people who do not live inside your home, and social distance from people inside your home if they are sick.
- Wear a mask that covers your mouth and nose. Wearing a mask protects yourself and others. The mask prevents your respiratory droplets from spreading and potentially infecting other people, and a recent CDC study found that wearing a cloth mask can reduce the amount of infectious droplets an individual is exposed to because the fabric barrier filters out a degree of particle.
- Cover coughs and sneezes. And immediately wash your hands afterwards.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces daily. These include such things as doorknobs, countertops and computers.
- Monitor your health daily. Know the symptoms for COVID-19 and check your temperature if you develop any of them.
- Get a flu shot. The flu shot can help prevent the spread of the flu and keep our health care system from getting overwhelmed this winter.
At Enlighten Dental Care, we are thankful for our patients and will continue to help keep you safe during these unusual times.