Dentists and Coronavirus – The “New Normal”

Since the coronavirus pandemic swept across the world in early March 2020, dentists have been hard-pressed to continue operations. Despite the challenges, however, many consulting dentists remain reachable to their clients. The Royal College of Dental Surgeons Ontario even has a detailed outline about how to use teledentistry, to aid dentists to keep their practice afloat. The industry has approached the problem of forced isolation with a unique vigor that shows that dentists can be adaptable in the right circumstances. Despite being tagged as a non-essential service by many state governments, dentistry is still a critical part of people’s lives.

Remote Consultation and Emergency Measures

The prevalence of remote consultation in practices such as Drescher & Cohen DDS is a new way to deal with dentistry that doesn’t require being present. It’s less effective than an in-person examination, but a dentist can still pick up clear cues about the patient’s condition. The journal Nature has an FAQ dedicated to helping consulting dentists with their patient interactions during remote sessions. In many cases, states allowed for emergency treatments to occur, but the decision as to what constituted an emergency was left up to the practitioner.

Post-Reopening and Social Distancing Measures

After areas started to reopen, and elective surgeries were once again permitted, dentistry offices had to deal with new regulations for gathering. PPE, such as masks and gloves, issued to staff and social distancing procedures within the facility, has made practicing dentistry amidst the pandemic a little less risky. Patients are also required to have a face mask before entering the premises, although the cover may have to be removed before any procedure occurs. Areas within the office that are prone to being touched (such as countertops and door handles) go through a rigorous sanitation process before and after each client visit.

A New Paradigm for Check-Ins

Reception areas would make for the most vulnerable point of a dentistry’s practice when it comes to potential community spread. We already know that the coronavirus is quickly passed from individual to individual in small, enclosed areas. To deal with this, many dentists have changed how they approach check-ins. Patients are asked to wait in their cars until it’s their turn. They’ll then get a call from the office when the dentist is ready, lowering the chance that they would contract the virus from someone else in the practice, or spread it themselves if they are already infected.

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