Should you go to the dentist during coronavirus?

July 16, 2020

The answer to the above question is Yes! Absolutely yes.

First of all, dental care is not “elective” care. Dental care is important to maintaining your overall health. If you have not had your teeth cleaned in a while or received a comprehensive dental exam in the past year, you are putting yourself at risk for more complex health issues that stem from neglecting your dental and oral health.

Unless you live under a rock, you are no doubt aware that social distancing is the best way to mitigate the spread of the novel coronavirus until there’s a vaccine. When that’s not possible, it’s best to wear face masks. But what safety measures are in place when you go to visit the dentist?

The best dental clinics in Costa Rica are adapting how they work in and around a patient’s mouth to account for this complicated new COVID reality. At Goodness Dental in Escazú, ranked by Global Clinic Rating as one of the top five dental clinics in the world, dentists screen patients for symptoms and are limiting the number of appointments in a day to reduce crowding.

Goodness Dental is also implementing stringent sanitation protocols, and staff wear protective equipment to guard against the respiratory disease. Additionally, Goodness Dental has invested in new technology to reduce the spread of airborne contaminants to keep doctors and patients safer.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the World Health Organization claim that particulates expelled when an infected person coughs, sneezes, talks or breathes are the primary way the virus spreads. But the CDC reports there are “no data available to assess the risk of SARS-CoV-2 transmission during dental practice.”

“If you’ve been afraid of going to the dentist and have been putting off routine cleanings, it’s now much safer to get the dental care you need,” says Patrick Goodness, CEO of Goodness Dental. “Choosing to postpone dental examinations and cleanings could compound health issues in the months or years to come. To help patients affected by the COVID crisis, we are also reducing rates on all dental procedures through August 31, 2020.

“Times are tough. It’s important to take care of your teeth and your oral health. We’re doing our best to lower prices to make dental care affordable for everyone.

“Going to the dentist isn’t the same as going to a barber or hair salon. Avoiding important dental care presents a health risk. Additionally, dentists are accustomed to understanding and managing infectious-disease risk. We are constantly seeking new ways to keep our patients safe and healthy.”

Call Goodness Dental at 866-218-1036 or on the clinic’s local line at +506 4037-0040 to learn about appointment protocols.

When you walk through the door to see the dentist, you’ll notice some changes. Dentists are asking patients to come to their appointments alone, if possible, to limit the number of people in the office. Once inside, patients are required to wear a mask and have their temperature taken. Appointments may “take a little longer” than normal to keep patients and staff safe, but the goal is improved safety for patients and staff.

Mitigating risk during dental care

The devices used in dental procedures often vibrate, spin and spray the spit from a patient’s mouth into tiny water droplets, or aerosols. A growing number of studies shows that the coronavirus can remain suspended in these aerosols. When possible, it’s optimal to switch to hand instruments that reduce aerosols and droplets. Dentists at Goodness Dental are also utilizing suction devices that vacuum potential aerosols at the source. All dental workers wear face masks and other face guards when conducting “aerosol-generating procedures.”

“It’s a new world,” says Patrick Goodness. “We’re doing our best to protect our patients and our staff while providing important dental work for our patients. It’s likely that we’re overcompensating, but we’d rather err on the side of safety. This is why patients trust us.”

Dentists are using new or disinfected personal protective equipment, or PPE, like face-shields, gloves, gowns and masks with each scheduled appointment. According to the CDC, there have not been any reports of COVID-19 cases from dental offices. This is good news for patients in need of dental care. Now more than ever, dental industry leaders say people should be diligent about their personal and oral health. Oral health impacts your heart, your lungs, kidneys, brain and your immune system. Taking care of your teeth is a positive step to fight any infection in your body.

Contact Dr. Peter Aborn at peter.aborn@goodnessdental.com

This story was sponsored by Goodness Dental.

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