Across the entire country, people are facing an unprecedented amount of uncertainty as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to spread, affecting millions of families. While most essential businesses closed down for several weeks, many are now back up and running, especially medical facilities. A patient’s health and safety is always the main concern for any medical provider, dentists included. Despite the precautions of staying at home and social distancing as much as possible, oral health should not suffer on the sidelines.
Lakes Pediatric Dentistry has implemented safety measures to ensure that all patients, and parents of patients, will be safe within our facility and while receiving their treatments. Here is a list of our office’s new COVID-19 features:
- Most forms, including COVID screening, are being done online.
- Patients wait outside, a second COVID screening is done, and patients/parent’s temperature is taken before entering the building.
- Patients/parents are walked to the handwashing station before going to the operatory.
- Operatories are not used for at least 30 minutes between patients, while the air purifiers do their job.
- Staff is provided N-95 masks, face shields, disposable gowns, caps, and other necessary PPE. All washable items remain on the premises and are washed daily.
- Four units of high-suction and triple-filtered High-volume Evacuations (HVE) aerosol removers are purchased and provide in each of the four operatories.
- Patent’s treatment, next appointments, and payments are all taken care of in the same operatory, in order to avoid person to person interaction in the hallways or at service counters.
- Patients will be escorted out of the facility once their appointment is finished to ensure safety.
Preparing a Child for an Appointment during COVID-19
Along with all of these new ADA COVID-19 measures, parents are encouraged to speak with their children about how their dental appointments and check-ups will be conducted amid all of the changes. Some kids may be used to a specific routine and can feel uncertain when significant changes are made. There is no need for our patients to be frightened as we are taking the most care possible to ensure that everyone who enters and leaves our office is handled with the utmost care.
- Prepare them to have their temperature checked once they come through the door; this will be done in a non-intrusive manner with a scanner that is placed near the forehead.
- Dentists and techs will be wearing new protective gear and will look different than the way children may remember them. Informing them about googles, protective visors, gloves, and gowns will lessen the surprise.
- Speaking to a kid about how they feel the morning of their dental visit during COVID -19 and looking out for potential symptoms can help protect everyone involved, both at home and in the dental office.
- Children above the age of two will be required to wear a mask within the facility until the dentist sees them. Preparing them to wait patiently while wearing a mask will help ease tension and confusion.
- Patients and parents will be asked to wait inside their cars until they are called in for their appointments, so it would be useful to bring activities like books, tablets, or schoolwork to keep children, siblings, and parents busy while they wait.
Beware of COVID-19 Symptoms
As we continue to learn more about this virus and the way it affects people from the transmission to symptoms and treatment, it’s essential to be aware of any and all signs that someone in the household has contracted COVID-19. The most common symptoms to look for are:
- Fever or chills
- Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
- Muscle or body aches
- New loss of taste or smell
- Sore throat
- Congestion or runny nose
- Nausea or vomiting
If anyone is showing signs of the following symptoms, they need to seek emergency medical services immediately:
- Trouble breathing
- Persistent pain or pressure in the chest
- New confusion
- Inability to wake or stay awake
- Bluish lips or face
If a child or parent is exhibiting any of these symptoms, along with fever, they will be asked not to come into the office to spare any potential risk or contagion to staff and other patients.
Reminders for Parents
As many families have been spending much time at home together, it’s easy to lose track of dental cleaning and check-up schedules. Children who had their appointments tentatively canceled during the COVID shut down still need to see their dentist! While cleanings are not considered an emergency, as things open back up, they should absolutely get back on their routine oral health schedules. Kids grow quickly, and with teeth falling out and growing in, their progress must be monitored, especially keeping an eye out on cavities. Oral health is a significant part of overall health, and problems that are overlooked during a child’s early years can quickly manifest into something more problematic.
Keeping good oral hygiene habits at home will help prevent the need from having to visit the dentist more often as COVID is still prevalent among the population. Parents need to remind their children that the key to fewer dental visits is a proper brushing and flossing routine!
Our office takes pride in being able to provide patients and their families with the highest level of precautionary measures during the COVID-19 pandemic. We want to ensure that children and parents who come through our doors feel comfortable and at ease knowing that we are doing all we can to make the visit as quick, efficient, and trouble-free as possible.
Parents who have any additional questions about visiting the office or any of the new COVID-19 precautionary measures are encouraged to call the Lakes Pediatric Dentistry office to speak with our staff or dentist.