In the long list of routines disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic, many Iowans may have missed preventive dental exams, ignored a nagging toothache or even forgot to brush their teeth a few times during the long days of quarantine.
Iowa dentists have been gearing up to welcome patients back, but visits will look a little different now. Delta Dental of Iowa recommends regular dental checkups when possible to avoid dental emergencies.
Maintaining regular routines and exams is critical for good oral and overall health, but your next dental visit will look a little different to keep everyone safe. However, the goal of the appointments are the same: to examine your teeth, gums, tongue and throat for any signs of disease and track any issues you might have to avoid problems in the future.
Dental pain, emergency dental appointments for you or your child, and follow-up appointments can cut into PTO and productivity. The good news is that infection control procedures are part of the normal course of dental business, the new processes simply make it safer.
Here are a few tips as you return to the dentist:
- Your exam. Be sure to ask your dentist any questions that you may have about your oral health. The dentist will provide a thorough exam but they will likely limit some procedures.
- Schedule your visit soon. Dentists may have a bit of a backlog; so call to set up your next appointment, especially if you missed an appointment in the last few months.
- Pre-appointment. You may be asked more COVID-19 screening questions before your appointment and again on the day of your appointment. Upon arrival, you may have your temperature taken and you may be asked to wear a mask.
- Checking in. Some dental offices may have you wait in your car instead of their waiting room. You may be asked to attend your appointment alone if possible to reduce the number of people in the dental office.
- Personal protective equipment (PPE). Dental staff, including the office staff, will be wearing PPE like face shields, gloves, masks, gowns and head coverings. There may be extra glass dividers in the office.
Even if you are still working from home or on a modified schedule, consider scheduling your next dental appointment soon. It’s important to stay on top of your dental health so minor issues don’t become an emergency. And don’t forget to maintain your regular daily hygiene, even if your daily schedule is still disrupted.
For more information on maintaining a healthy smile and what to expect at your next appointment, visit Delta Dental of Iowa’s blog, A Healthy Life.