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Is it Safe to Go to the Dentist During COVID-19?

With the continued presence of COVID-19, many of us are concerned about how risky we should be when it comes to where we go and what services we partake in. And as most states in the US are beginning to loosen regulations and restrictions, a lot of us are looking to get back to our normal lives. Work, sports, and yes, even going to the dentist are slowly becoming more common. But is it really safe to go to the dentist yet? Or are we rushing things? Here’s what you need to know about how safe it is to go in for a dental procedure.

How COVID-19 Spreads

Disease: coronavirus disease (COVID-19)
Virus: severe acute respiratory virus syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2)

COVID-19 is a respiratory illness that spreads through respiratory droplets – tiny drops of water and fluid that you breathe, sneeze, or cough into the air. The virus attaches to the droplets until they land on something. If the droplets land on a surface, the virus will most likely remain there. If the droplets are inhaled by another person, or land in their mouth, nose or eyes, that person could become infected. The spread of COVID-19 can occur even if the person sneezing is asymptomatic, as they may not be exhibiting any signs of the illness.

Safe for Patients

Because the virus moves through respiratory fluid, wearing a mask is key in preventing the spread. Masks keep the microscopic droplets from reaching others. An N95 Respirator is a respiratory protective device designed to achieve a very close facial fit and very efficient filtration of airborne particles. The edges of the respirator are designed to form a seal around the nose and mouth. Surgical N95 respirators are used in healthcare settings and are not recommended for public use.
At an appointment at Lindner Dental, you will notice your dentist, hygienist, and assistant will be wearing a surgical mask and an N95 respirator, face shield, head covering, and eye protection to prevent any illness from being transmitted to you. Because of the increased PPE (personal protection equipment), patients remain very safe during dental visits. The CDC reports there is “no data available to assess the risk of SARS-CoV-2 transmission during dental practice.”

Dental Precautions

The American Dental Association and the CDC are providing practical guidance on how practices should proceed with dental procedures while limiting face-to-face interactions. But it is important to remember that dentists have always been accustomed to think about infectious-disease risk. Because they work closely with the human mouth and are exposed to bacteria and viruses on a daily basis, they are known for maintaining strict hygiene practices in the office well before the COVID-19 pandemic. Dental office standards for cleaning and disinfecting tools and surfaces regularly as well as wearing protective gear such as masks, gloves, and eyewear, have become ubiquitous in these recent times.

Now, there are even more safety precautions being implemented by many dental offices. They are screening patients for symptoms prior to entering the office, limiting the number of appointments in a day, implementing stringent sanitation protocols, strictly enforcing social distancing among patients and employees, and wearing more protective equipment to guard against the respiratory disease. Many dental offices have also removed waiting room materials like magazines and toys to reduce the number of surfaces the virus could cling to.

Final Thoughts

Your next visit to the dentist may look a bit different and there will be protocols that may seem inconvenient. But keep in mind these extra requirements have been put into place for your safety and the safety of the clinicians. Dentists are adapting how they work in and around a patient’s mouth to account for this complicated reality while ensuring patients’ dental procedures are safe and effective. Dentists and other public health experts have expressed concern that postponing routine cleanings and other necessary procedures could compound health issues in the months or years to come. Therefore, it’s important to keep up with your appointments, adhere to your dental office’s safety guidelines and make sure to inform the office of any symptoms you are either currently experiencing or have experienced within 10 days after your appointment.

If you have any questions about what to expect at your appointment, visit the COVID-19 page on our website. There is also a brief video to watch with your kids to help prepare them for the changes. Or, call us with any questions at (603) 624-3900.


Helpful Links:

Marvin The Molar Visits the Dentist

Lindner Dental Safety Protocols