‘Safe dental visits’ the priority amid virus fears
With coverage of the COVID-19 virus dominating the news these days, dentists can do their part with reminders of safe practices for patients and offices.
“Dentists should continue practicing their daily routine of infection control. We also need to tell our patients that we want each visit to be a safe dental visit,” according to CDS’ own Larry Williams. Masks, gloves, protective eyewear and gowns provide protection for both patients and staff.
“Our use of disinfectants, up-to-date sterilization practices, dedicated hand washing, and one-time-use disposable materials also have all helped facilitate safe dental visits for our patients. All of these practices have been the backbone” of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Standard Precautions, said Dr. Williams, who served as the Public Health Emergency Officer in the Navy Region Midwest, where he prepared and trained for future pandemic flu outbreaks and the H1N1 Flu outbreak in 2009.
Dentists should start by putting their patients at ease and stressing that your practice is routinely practicing CDC precautions, even before patients ask a question.
“While we know that our oral health practices are safe for our patients and staff, the ongoing news about the virus can make people nervous and withdrawn. We must be proactive in offering calming information and reassurance to our staff and patients that our infection control and standard precautions are an excellent deterrent to the virus,” Dr. Williams said.
“We also must remember that the multiple sources of ‘sickness news’ may cause concern, fear, and confusion among our patients and staff,” he said. To that end, he urges dentists “to stay proactive, informed, and calm so that we can provide our patients and staff with the correct information everyone needs.”
A wealth of information is available on the CDC website at www.cdc.gov on infection prevention in the dental setting, assessing patients for COVID-19 and Standard Precautions guidelines for your staff. The CDC’s Health Alert Network also provides up-to-date information on various health issues that may affect dental practices.
By following the guidelines and remaining calm, “We will be able to provide our patients and staff with the fantastic dental care we have always provided,” Dr. Williams said.