COVID-19 has changed almost every aspect of our lives, including our dentist appointments. We'll go over the new rules and regulations for seeing your North York dentist during these trying times in this post.
Staying Safe While Preserving Oral Health
Many patients are concerned about visiting their dentist while COVID-19 is still present. Many restrictions were lifted in provinces across Canada in late spring/early summer 2020, allowing patients to see their dentist again. However, you may notice that your dentist's office is quite different, and there are protocols in place to keep both staff and patients safe.
While attending dental appointments is key to your oral health as you progress through dental treatment, there are health questions and concerns that come up just in the act of coming in for your appointment. Because the pandemic is still happening, extra precautions are needed to ensure everyone stays safe.
New Rules & Regulations Under COVID-19
All updated safety rules from provincial regulating bodies and governments must be followed for your dentist's office to remain open during the pandemic. When providing care, dentists must follow this guidance as well as the most recent information from their province's Chief Medical Officer of Health. This comprises:
- Scheduling appointments to allow patients to physical distance. There must also be time for treatment areas to be disinfected between each appointment. Keep in mind that everyone is now on a time crunch, and that may mean you need to book an appointment further ahead or that there will be less flexibility in your dentist’s daily schedule.
- Potentially waiting outside. Depending on the office, you may be asked to wait outside and call when you arrive. You’ll be notified when it’s appropriate to enter.
- Socially distanced waiting rooms. You’ll find chairs are spaced 2 metres apart. There will be no magazines, toys or other non-essential items as we try to reduce the number of touchable surfaces.
- Answering screening questions. Your dentist or their staff will ask you pre-screening questions before your appointment to see if you have any COVID-19 symptoms. When you arrive for your appointment, you'll be asked these questions again, as well as have your temperature taken with a touchless thermometer.
- Using hand sanitizer. When you arrive, you’ll be asked to use a 70 to 90 percent alcohol-based solution, or soap and water, upon entering or leaving the office.
- Rescheduling appointments for sick patients. Stay at home if you have flu-like symptoms (difficulty breathing, cough, fever), or if you have been exposed to COVID-19. Please call your dental office to report symptoms, reschedule, or inquire about other treatment options if you have an upcoming dental appointment.
- Wearing a face mask. Except for while you are being treated, you will be asked to wear a face mask or covering while in your dentist’s office.
- Protective gear for office staff and dentists. In addition to surgical face masks, your dentist and their staff will wear correct personal protective equipment (PPE) during in-person appointments.
- Attending your appointment alone. Plan on going to your appointment by yourself, as having fewer people in the office is always preferable. Children and people who require assistance are given special consideration. If the patient requires the assistance of a parent or caregiver, that person will be subjected to all screening questions and measures as well.
- Paying via touchless payment. Plan to use your debit card or credit card to pay any balance owing on your appointment.
Are you experiencing a dental emergency and unsure what to do? Please contact your dentist and inform them of your situation. They will be able to advise you on the best course of action. If you need to come in, they will tell you whether they can help you or refer you to another dentist or emergency clinic.