Dental offices: Still a Safe Place Regardless of the Coronavirus
Q: Is it ok for me to have dental treatment with the current Coronavirus issue?
A: We had only one patient call to cancel a hygiene visit, two hours before her appointment; which is a big no-no in the dental biz and is sure to unleash the wrath of dental front desk staffers across the nation. Some offices require two business days’ notice.
Her reason: “I am 75 and I don’t want to get sick in your building which has a lot of old people going in and out. I don’t want to walk through the main entrance and take a chance.”
Here is why her logic is completely twisted:
- Ever since the AIDS virus was isolated, all dental offices follow the OSHA guidelines of “Universal Precautions”. This means EVERY patient is treated as if they are infected with any and all pathogens. Masks and gloves are changed for every patient, antibacterial hand washing for staff, frequently handled hard surfaces are either covered with clean plastic wraps or are wiped with bactericidal sprays or wipes. All instruments are “autoclaved”; heat under pressure sterilized.
- The doctors and staff are the ones that need to go out of their way AT THE WORK PLACE to protect themselves from this virus as well as the common flu which kills thousands every year and has a much higher fatality rate than the Coronavirus.
- Walking into an apartment building that happens to have seniors is in no way an “at risk” situation. Those that are sick are either locked in their apartments recovering or hospitalized.
- The CDC said: “At this time, it’s unclear how easily or sustainably the virus that causes COVID-19 is spreading between people.”
- If one declares a condo in Florida as “high risk”; then what about a Publix in Florida? What’s next, Too Jays?!
- Patients with fever, cough, difficulty breathing and who have traveled to at-risk countries in the last 14 days are told to post pone their treatment. However, some dental offices will have a dedicated operatory and protocol for treating dental emergencies on at-risk patients.
- Skipping your preventive or recommended dental treatment will only result in more serious and more expensive dental treatment in the not-to-distant future.
Relax. Take a deep breath. Testing will show more infected folks at first, but will also bring down the fatality rate as these people will stay home in isolation and get better. Once the summer rolls around, I believe things will improve. Visit CDC.GOV for info.