Asian Reporter web extra, August 12, 2020
Is it safe to visit the dentist during the pandemic?
By The Associated Press
Is it safe to visit the dentist during the COVID-19 pandemic?
Dentists canít eliminate all risk, but they are taking steps to minimize
the chances of spreading the coronavirus.
Youíll likely notice changes as soon as you enter the office. Many
dentists have removed magazines from waiting rooms, for example, as well as
some chairs to encourage social distancing. They also are spacing out
appointments to avoid crowding their offices.
You may be asked to arrive for your appointment with a facial covering
and to wait in your car until equipment is cleaned and the dentist is ready.
Before receiving care, you can also expect staff to take your temperature
and ask about COVID-19 symptoms.
Procedures are changing, too.
Coronavirus is spread mainly through droplets people spray when they
talk, cough, or sneeze. Dental care requires close quarters and procedures
that can generate a spray of saliva and water. To reduce risk, dentists are
returning to manual tools for procedures like teeth cleanings, instead of
other instruments that may do the job faster but create more of that spray.
Staff also have started wearing masks, face shields, and other personal
protective equipment. Some dentists are charging for all the extra gear, so
ask in advance if you should expect extra costs.
As the pandemic spread earlier this year, dental offices in the U.S.
mostly closed, except for emergency care. By the end of June, nearly all
offices had reopened, according to surveys by the American Dental
The Associated Press is answering questions about the
coronavirus in this series.
Submit questions to <FactCheck@AP.org>.
Illustration by Peter Hamlin.