Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Dr. Susan Fallahi of Uptown Pediatric Dentistry.
Tips for Taking Your Kids to the Dentist During a Pandemic
During a time when we are forced to weigh the risks and benefits of public exposure, many of us are left wondering where routine healthcare fits into our new normal. Decisions that we typically make without a second thought are now clouded with fears and doubts. Parents have the added stress of making these decisions for our children; should we keep our well visits and dental check-up appointments? In this regard, there are several important considerations to weigh. This article aims to assist in making the decision as to whether you should keep your child’s dental appointment(s).
Is Visiting the Dentist Worth the Risk During COVID-19?
Although tooth decay is largely preventable, did you know that it is the single most common chronic childhood disease? It is scientifically accepted that children who receive routine dental care are less likely to develop tooth decay in adulthood. Your child’s “check-up” is more than just a professional cleaning. Dental visits help identify problems in growth and development. Complications such as “pre-cavities” can be diagnosed and a prevention plan implemented. A dental visit may not seem like a priority in the face of a global pandemic, but delaying may lead to further issues with effects lasting for years to come.
What Questions Should I Ask Before I Visit the Dentist During a Pandemic?
It is important to note that dental offices are by design focused on patient safety and infection control. Dentists have been required by law to maintain a clean and sterile environment long before COVID-19, and now (per CDC and ADA guidance) have enacted further stringent measures to prevent the spread of infection. Ask your provider about those new policies and protocols and how they are being implemented.
What Updated & Increased Safety Protocols Should I Look For at the Dental Office During COVID-19?
Here are a few examples of new protocols you may encounter at your next dental visit:
- Virtual check-in from cars (to avoid sitting in crowded reception areas)
- COVID-19 screenings and temperature check on all patients and staff members
- Social distancing in reception and clinic areas
- No-contact communication
- Hand sanitizing stations throughout the office
- Requirement that all patients and staff wear masks or shields when moving through the office
- Limited use of aerosol-producing instruments in clinic (which may mean that your regular appointment may take a little longer)
- Added cleaning and disinfection of non-clinic areas
- Tele-dentistry appointments
If you have medically compromised family members, discuss accommodations with your provider. Request the first appointment of the day or ask for an isolation room, if available. Some offices may reserve an appointment time for you when no other patients are present in the office. The most important consideration is the health and safety of your family, so don’t be shy about asking what the office can do for you. Communicate and ask questions so that you can make an informed decision. Your dental provider is here to help and support you. Just like every other obstacle of parenthood, we will get through this together.
Learn more about Uptown Pediatric Dentistry ::
Dr. Susan Fallahi is a board certified pediatric dentist and owner at Uptown Pediatric Dentistry. She has been practicing dentistry for 11 years, the last 9 years here in the greater New Orleans area. She maintains membership in several local and national dental associations, including the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry and the Louisiana Dental Association. She is originally from Cincinnati, Ohio, but considers New Orleans home now. She treats a wide range of pediatric patients including infants with nursing issues to adults with special needs and everything in between. She lives in Mid City with her husband, two children and dog and enjoys anything outdoors, as long as it’s not too cold.