COVID-19-Related Changes You May Notice At Your Next Dentist Appointment

If you'll soon be visiting a dentist, this may be the first appointment that you've had since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. You'll almost certainly notice that some things will be different about this appointment, and it's useful to know what to expect in advance. Dental clinics across the country have taken significant steps to protect their patients and their staffs from the spread of the virus. You may wish to browse your dentist's website to read about what specific changes it has enacted, or you can discuss them with the clinic's receptionist when they call to remind you about your appointment. Here are some changes that you'll likely notice.

Check-In By Text Message

In the past, you've likely entered the dentist's clinic in advance of your appointment, checked in with the receptionist, and then taken a seat in the waiting area until someone calls you. You'll likely find that your pre-appointment steps are now different. Many clinics are asking their patients to check in remotely. This will often entail sending a text message to a specific number once you arrive at the clinic, but remaining in your parked car. You'll receive a text message back once your dental hygienist or the dentist is ready to see you — at which point, you can enter.

Patient Screening

You can also expect that you'll go through a short screening process before you walk from the reception area to the clinic's treatment room. A staff member will likely ask you a series of COVID-19-related questions. This list will cover any symptoms — coughing, sore throat, and more — that you may be dealing with. Provided that you aren't experiencing any COVID-19 symptoms, someone will take your temperature by aiming a touchless thermometer at your forehead. If you pass the screening and your temperature isn't elevated, you'll be able to enter the treatment room.

Use Of A Mask

Many dental clinics ask their patients to wear face masks during their visits. While you obviously will need to remove your mask when the checkup or dental work is underway, your hygienist or dentist may request that you put the mask back on immediately afterward. For example, if you sometimes sit in the chair after the appointment and discuss topics such as flossing or ask some questions, you may need to wear your mask for the protection of those around you. These changes are easy to adapt to, and will likely be applicable regardless of the reason for your visit.