As COVID-19, also commonly referred to as coronavirus, continues to spread across the globe, many doctors and dentists are wondering what the future of their practice looks like. From virtual visits to the safety of staff and patients, dentists are considering all of the possible risks and factors when preparing to come back to the office.
Many dentists and orthodontists are exploring the option of virtual visits for their patients. While this doesn’t give dentists the option to perform any standard practices within the actual mouth of the patient, it allows for time to speak about any issues the patient may be experiencing. If possible, the patient may be able to show the dentist or orthodontist what is irritating them, and then receive advice or recommendations on how to resolve the issue themselves.
If it cannot be resolved at home, the dentist is able to make the decision to have the patient come into the office for an emergency visit. Upon entering the office, standard social-distancing and proper mask-use will be required when applicable. Virtual visits are not the same as in-person visits, but it’s better than no visit at all!
Personal protective equipment
With the increasing need for personal protective equipment (PPE) such as masks, gloves, and gowns, the dental office may have issues of shortages and missing supplies. As everyone, including the general public, is now in need of masks and gloves, the medical field may find it difficult to replenish their inventory.
Because of this, appointments may need to be on an emergency-basis only to ensure proper stock of PPE. Everyone is hopeful that the world will overcome this PPE shortage and stand prepared.
Staff and patient safety
Similar to the PPE requirements, there must be social-distancing guidelines in place for both patients and staff. Obviously as a dentist and hygienist, there is no getting around the closeness of a dental visit. PPE must be used to ensure the safety and health of both parties.
With the limitation of how many patients are allowed inside the office at one time, the same rules will apply for staff. Perhaps there were two secretaries in your dental office, your dentist might consider limiting the front desk to only one person at a time. This brings a lot of factors into play, and will have to undergo extensive planning.
The future of dentistry
The world is in an eerie state currently. There are a lot of unknowns that come into play when deciding on how to properly and safely move forward. We are learning more and more each day when it comes to COVID-19 and the virus associated with the disease, so our plans will change accordingly. As always, keep yourself educated and informed about the state of your community, and keep in touch with your dentist in case any dental emergencies arise.
Contact Dr. Sara and her team at Pinnacle Peak Family Dentistry to learn more about how the future of dentistry is changing.