Is it safe to go to the dentist?

This is one of the biggest concerns that has been brought to my attention not just from my own patients but from friends, family, and the internet. For those of you who want to skip to the punch line the answer is simply --- yes! Who more would you trust to take care of your safety than a dentist who is highly OCD and a huge germaphobe?!

Dentistry has been on the forefront of maintaining one of the highest standards of care to protect our patients. I’m sure many of you remember those lovely ceramic bowls that we used to spit into. Some of you may even remember a time where there was “wet-handed dentistry”, aka no gloves! Long story short, as technology advances along with our knowledge of how to treat diseases, so does the way we practice dentistry.

One of the biggest challenges for me as the owner and practicing dentist of a small private family practice is to sort through all of the information out there and implement safety precautions so my patients don’t have to worry about coming into the office. The list can be quite long, but here are some of the things we’re doing that patients have noticed and appreciate:

  • We screen every person before they enter the building (including our team members).
  • We have implemented protocols to decrease the amount of patients at any given time in the building to help with proper social distancing.
  • Staff members are required to wear masks at all times.
  • We’ve increased our PPE (Personal Protective Equipment).
  • We’ve enhanced protocols for infection control while updating as recommended (ie. Allowing operatories to “settle” before changing rooms).

That being said, as dentists, we should always be evaluating our practice day by day to see if we are operating safely with enough PPE equipment, monitoring the amount of cases in the immediate area, and following recommendations from the American Dental Association, Florida Department of Health, and the Centers for Disease Control, just to name a few.

We have gone through pandemics in the past. As you may recall, what used to shock the world included diarrhea, influenza, tuberculosis, HIV/AIDS… and yet here we are today! I know for my patients it must be a difficult time, and that there is a “new normal” for everyone from employees to small business owners of all professions. Just make sure that you don’t let your dental needs become dental emergencies. 

Now the next question I’ve been asked is: “Are dental offices open?” 

Currently and fortunately we are open! (I’ll be praying to the dental gods.)

  • Ricky Pan, DMD is a family and cosmetic dentist practicing in Oldsmar, FL at Pine Avenue Smiles.

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