In The Shadow of COVID-19
Although it’s been a couple months since the quarantine over both Kansas and Missouri has been lifted, there are many people who remain in self-isolation, as the threat posed by COVID-19 remains a major public health concern. Indeed, by following the standard protocol in public places (wearing a mask, keeping a safe distance from others, making frequent use of hand sanitizer, ect) you ARE taking a crucial step in protecting yourself and others. However, despite these precautions there are many people who still feel at risk when in public, thus begging the question;
“Is it safe to visit my dentist?”
While some skeptics may scoff at such a question, if you have underlying health issues or have elderly/potentially compromised individuals in your family, this is likely a source of concern for you. Therefore, in the sections below, we would like to address the concern of dental safety by highlighting all the precautions that the dental profession has taken, both in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak and the years prior to ensure the safety of both patients and practitioners alike.
Related Article: Dr. Kimes Welcomes Back Patients for Routine Dental Appointments
Dental Safety: HIV/AIDS
While the COVID-19 pandemic might be the first disease outbreak to significantly impact our society in quite a while, it is certainly not the first disease outbreak to affect the modern era. In 1981, the first cases of HIV/AIDs were reported within the United States. Throughout the remainder of the 1980’s the number of cases would increase rapidly, thus resulting in many changes in protocol within all major fields of the medical industry including professional dentistry.
Due to HIV/AIDS being a bloodborne pathogen, (meaning it’s primarily transmitted through blood) therefore the standard personal protection equipment (PPE) used by dentists everywhere was vastly improved upon. Such improvements included the utilization of medical masks, surgical gloves, and protective eye wear, which became requirements to wear at all times to increase dental safety for the dental team and the patient.
Additionally, sterilization became a central focus to prevent any dental safety risk of cross-contamination. This required each chair/operational space to thoroughly cleaned between patients, and any instruments used to be sanitized or disposed of properly. These new protective measures were extraordinarily successful, and quickly became required practice among dentists across the globe, thus setting a new standard.
However, in 2020 the world would again be taken by surprise, as the arrival of COVID-19 would once again require further changes to be made.
Dental Safety: COVID-19
Although not nearly as fatal as the before mentioned HIV/AIDS, COVID-19 is much more contagious. As you probably already know, COVID-19 is an airborne pathogenic disease, that can be transmitted from one infected person to another by simply sneezing, coughing, and or close personal contact. Therefore, we at Overland Park Dentistry, as well as other dental practices around the country have implemented new preventive measures to increase dental safety, to protect our patients and staff from contacting the virus.
One of our most noticeable changes is the fact that we now require patients to call our front desk prior to entering the waiting room, to limit our waiting room to one patient at a time. Once you have entered the waiting room, a member of our staff will administer a brief questionnaire to assess any recent travels or changes in medical history, as well as giving you a temperature screening to ensure that you are within normal range. Additionally, we require that you wear a cloth mask at all times during your visit, until a staff member informs you to remove it. While this may seem a bit excessive to some, please remember that these preventative measures are mandated by State Law in both Kansas and Missouri and would be required at any dental practice during this time.
Your Safety Is Our Priority!
At Overland Park Dentistry, the care and dental safety of our patients has always been our number one priority, and although these past several months have been difficult for everyone, your friends at Overland Park Dentistry will always be here when you need us. So, if you’re due for a checkup, but are worried about coming in, remember at Overland Park Dentistry you WILL be in safe hands!
Until next time stay safe and keep smiling!
Local dentist, Dr. Charles R. Kimes, DDS, and his team at Overland Park Dentistry look forward to having the opportunity to care for you and your family with preventative, restorative or cosmetic dentistry. To schedule your dental appointment with your Overland Park Dentist, contact us at our south Overland Park office at (913) 647-8700 or our north Overland Park office at (913) 341-2380.