The outbreak of COVID-19 has certainly changed the way we live our everyday lives. In many states, including Pennsylvania and New Jersey, non-essential businesses have been ordered to close. If you had a dental appointment scheduled, you may be wondering if dental offices are considered essential businesses. In short, the answer is, “Yes,” but the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) have issued some guidance for dental offices to follow during the COVID-19 lockdown. At each of ZDental’s five locations, we’re dedicated to preventing the spread of the virus; as such, we plan to follow the CDC’s recommendations. Here’s more about what is considered an essential dental service during the COVID-19 outbreak, and what you can do to protect yourself and your dental staff if you do need to come in for a visit.
Essential Dental Services during COVID-19
Because COVID-19 is believed to be primarily spread by respiratory droplets, the CDC believes that dental professional are at a high risk of transmission during dental procedures. Not only does the type of work performed require a dental professional to remain in close proximity to a patient’s mouth for long periods of time, but drills and other instruments can also easily spread respiratory droplets and other bodily fluids into the air where they have a higher chance of spreading the virus. While our dental professionals observe the usual precautions like wearing face masks and safety glasses, these measures are not believed to completely eliminate the risk of transmitting COVID-19, either from patient to dentist/hygienist, or vise-versa.
If you had a dental procedure scheduled before the outbreak began, it’s crucial that you determine whether it is medically necessary and consider postponing it to a later time. The CDC has recommended that dental offices postpone all elective procedures, routine cleanings, surgeries, and other non-urgent dental visits until further notice. We will still be available for emergency dental procedures or anything else that is considered medically necessary for patients who have not tested positive for COVID-19. For those who are confirmed to have the virus and need emergency dental procedures, we may be able to assist you in finding a medical facility that can perform your procedure in proper conditions. Please keep in mind that this situation is rapidly evolving and that CDC recommendations may change in the future.
Protecting Dental Professionals during COVID-19
If you need emergency dental care in Philadelphia and you are not showing signs of COVID-19, please be aware that you can still spread the virus even when you are asymptomatic. As such, we will be evaluating all patients before their procedures for signs or symptoms of the virus. If we believe we cannot safely treat you, we may postpone your procedure or assist you in seeking out a facility where it can be performed in accordance with infection protocols. To protect ourselves and our patients, we will be wearing the highest level of personal protection equipment available to us and following all protocols related to proper disposal after dental procedures. If you would like to know more about the CDC guidelines we will be following, you can read about them on their website.
The staff at ZDental want you to know that we’re doing everything in our power to keep you and ourselves safe during the COVID-19 pandemic. We ask that you be understanding during this time and be willing to postpone any procedures that are not medically necessary. We will get through this together!