Times are changing.
Times have changed.
Life as we know it, is now in the past. One of the biggest questions that I get asked is, How will COVID-19 take a toll on dentistry?
In the many Facebook groups that I am apart of, other doctors are constantly questioning the same thing as they too are unsure. What we do know is, We are needed? We are healthcare workers, but at this current moment we are seen more as elective vs emergent. We have given away PPE and a lot of us have closed our doors, but it is proven dental emergencies don’t stop during a pandemic. People really do go to the ER for dental related reasons on a regular basis and we want to make sure that it’s not happening at this moment.
I love that people are calling offices and asking about their oral hygiene because it means you guys are listening. People are also calling and asking if their cavities that need to be taken care of are an emergency–in the normal world it always is and it proves we are more than just elective. We know that bad oral bacteria can effect people systemically.
How will it look when we return?
What many people don’t know is that what you see in the dental office today is only because of the start of the HIV/AIDS pandemic. Dentists before HIV/AIDS never wore PPE. No gowns, no masks, no gloves. That particular pandemic is what changed how dentists protect themselves. We started using gowns, masks, and gloves. Now that we’ve had a new pandemic emerge, how will things look? Simple– More gowns, more masks, more gloves.
It has been stated that Dentist and Hygienist were at the top of workers that are most at risk to be exposed with COVID-19. However, there have been no clusters of dentists, families associated with dentists, or multiple staff related to dental offices catching the virus. THAT DOES NOT MEAN THAT WE ARE NOT AT RISK. Some have stated that since we come in contact with so many pathogens on a daily, that our immune system is wired slightly different than those that are not dentists. But, that is not a proven fact. The instruments that we use to clean with and the high speed instruments that we use to drill with both create aerosols in the environment that could contain the disease thus infecting us. So we are implementing more assistants to help reduce aerosols, less people in waiting rooms, and other things to help keep everyone safe.
The reality of it is, dentist are needed. Cavities will grow larger and Periodontal disease is still prevalent. The bacteria that is causing both can still be detrimental to your health. Thus, dentistry is still very much important and many states have given us the green light to open our practice and treat our patients.
Don’t be afraid to see your dentist. Don’t pay attention to our extra protective wear to help protect you and ourselves. Don’t worry about anything because we are taking the necessary steps to keep you safe. Remember under the many masks we are smiling at you and our main priority is to help keep you healthy.