To date in the United States, significant numbers of healthcare providers who have tested positive for COVID-19 have been identified in either hospital settings or long-term care facilities, but no clusters have yet been reported in dental settings or among dental health care providers.
What most fail to consider in these situations is the health and safety of the dentists and dental hygienists, who are actually much more at risk for contracting COVID-19 than patients. It comes down to proper PPE, which dental staff wear face masks and protective eyewear, while patients obviously cannot. Face coverings and other PPE are designed to keep germs away from healthy individuals when an infected person is wearing a mask, not necessarily vice-versa.
Also, as you probably know, those dental procedures are often pretty messy—teeth cleaning, water flossing, and other similar procedures can potentially spray viral particles in greater amounts and longer distances throughout a dental office onto the dentists and their staff, only adding to the possibility of infection. Ultimately, the chances of a patient being infected by a dentist are much, much lower than a patient infecting a dentist. The biggest exposure is going into somebody’s mouth. It’s the dentist and dental office that are truly the ones at risk.
Even before the pandemic, dental offices were required to maintain rigorous hygiene practices. When open during the COVID-19 pandemic, the Right Smile Center enforces social distancing between all individuals in the office—patients and staff—when not wearing personal protective equipment, and routinely disinfecting common surfaces in waiting rooms, including doorknobs, countertops, light switches and pens.
Novy Scheinfeld, DDS, PC
ZoAnna Bock, MS, DMD
Hanna Orland, DMD
Howard Abrahams, DDS
290 Carpenter Drive, 200A
Sandy Springs, GA 30328
3781 Chamblee Dunwoody Road
Chamblee, GA 30341