Recent Posts

Archive

Tags

You've got what? A dental appointment?!

Yes! Here’s why I believe your dental office is one of the safest places you can be and why it's important to continue your dental care.


As we approach the one year anniversary of the COVID nationwide shutdown, I’m noticing a significant up-tic in the severity of problems people are experiencing, on average. Gum problems progressed, newly discovered cavities more catastrophic; I think the combination of folks being afraid to see us, and changes to hygiene practices due to staying home, are having a negative effect on the mouths I’m seeing every day.


Without further ado, here are my top 4 reasons why I believe dentistry is one of the safest places you can be in this topsy turvy world:


1. Dentistry in general, has been treating patients like they’ve had the very worst diseases known to man since the HIV concerns came on the scene. Most of the scariest diseases have been invisible. You can’t look at someone superficially and see if they have tuberculosis, or hepatitis, or the COVID 19 virus. Because you can’t see them, we’ve been practicing as if everyone has the worst diseases, both to protect ourselves and our other patients. This careful posture has been in place since before my licensing in 1993. Caution is not new to us.


2. Dentistry specifically, is known to have one of the lowest COVID 19 infection rates of all professions. The reasons can be debated, but I believe the COVID measures we’ve put into place insure our place has the absolute minimum risk of experiencing COVID 19. A few of the most practical practices are:


a. We screen all pre-scheduled appointments 48 hours ahead of time. The questionnaire touches on all aspects of exposure. And when hints of potential exposure are uncovered, we are eager to cancel and reappoint at a time when circumstances allow a non-risky appointment. Patients have been cooperative and understanding of this practice.


b. We have eliminated our waiting room, for all practical purposes. Our patients’ cars are now where they stage for appointments. Once they arrive, they make us aware they are present, then we call them in once we are ready to engage.


c. Once engaged, patients undergo another brief questionnaire inside the office, looking for risk factors that would prompt reappointment. Once they have cleared our brief survey and temperature scan, they are brought into our space for treatment.


d. Post-operatively, we follow up with patients, contacting them for yet another brief survey, so that if problems were to arise, we could take appropriate measures to handle such exposures.


3. Our office, because of our regimens or despite our regimens, has not discovered a single exposure that affected employees, or patients. We’ve cancelled appointments out of our cautious posture, and we’ve had patients cancel appointments out of caution. We’ve had employees electively quarantined because of events outside the office. But as I write this, we have had zero events related to the operation of this facility. Zero is better than any average, and we’re proud of that. Our cautious posture has proven effective.


4. We’ve had the Illinois Department of Professional Regulation, the most stringent and powerful entity in local government, in our office to evaluate our practices, and we passed without any recommended alteration of our process.


I routinely and randomly ask my patients, generally on their way out of our space, if they have felt “safe”, or well protected, in terms of how they’ve been handled in our facility. Without exception, the folks I’ve engaged have said they feel protected and safe in our space.


So here’s my take: there aren’t many safer places you can be than in my dental office. Dentistry in general has proven to be safe, despite the obvious concerns, and our office in particular is having a fantastic result due to the safety protocols we have in place.


If you need a good, safe dentist, we can be of service. Don't let the care of your teeth take a back seat. Spring Valley Dental is here to safely and expertly serve you and yours.


Lance P. Martin, DMD

Partner at Spring Valley Dental Group

O'Fallon, IL


Sources:

https://www.ada.org/en/publications/ada-news/2020-archive/october/ada-study-finds-covid-19-rate-among-dentists-less-than-1-percent


https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/33151191/


https://www.perio.org/dental-practices-prevent-spread-COVID19


https://www.healthline.com/health-news/why-dentists-are-reporting-a-low-rate-of-covid-19