The “New Normal” in Dentistry

The “New Normal” in Dentistry

The “New Normal” in Dentistry

While the government continues to relax some of the isolation and social distancing measures put in place due to the covid 19 pandemic, we are all eager to discover what our “new normal” will look like.

As with all sectors that rely heavily on a personal approach and close interactions, it is expected that dentistry will emerge looking quite different from what it looked like before. But that does not need to be a bad thing. Some of these changes can be so positive that they might just stick around long after the corona virus is gone.

The use of teledentistry, for example, proved to be a valuable tool during the pandemic and it allowed dental professionals to host “virtual visits” that enabled them to offer advice, exchange information and provide support to their patients in need of urgent care. Just think of what that can mean for patients with limited access to care, to those living in remote areas, to those confined to long term care institutions etc.

Remote care can also make in- office appointments more readily available to those patients that really need them as well as relieve both the dentist and the patient from the burdens of unnecessary travelling. That can be especially appealing to patients undergoing an orthodontic treatment as some of the unplanned “emergency” visits can be avoided.

Evidently, teledentistry is a valuable tool and we hope regulations will be put in place in the near future that will allow dental professionals to fully utilise this new way of communication with their patients.

But what happens when you do come in for a visit? If anything this pandemic has made us profoundly aware of the importance of prevention and preparedness when it comes to our health. More than ever we understand the patients concerns regarding proper methods of infection control. Never so much emphasis has been put into the value of hand washing, respiratory hygiene and surface disinfection! And even though dental clinics already excelled in these areas in pre pandemic times, the dental community is working hard to reaffirm its commitment to the exceptional care they provide.

And it is for that reason that many new guidelines have been put in place to ensure the protection of the patients, the staff and the dentists themselves. As a result, your next visit to the dental office might look a little different from what you were previously used to.

You will probably be asked to fill a form prior to your arrival updating your health information and some extra screening questions will be asked before the dentist can see you. The more your dentist knows about you and your health the better he can treat you and protect you. Here at our office we will also ask you to brush your teeth before coming to your appointment as the hygiene stations will be inaccessible. Your temperature will be checked, and you will be asked to rinse your mouth with a disinfectant solution for one minute. The dental staff will be wearing some extra protective gear but you will no doubt be able to continue to experience our gentle touch and joyous disposition.

In addition, the appointments scheduled are more spaced out and we ask you if possible to come by yourself so we can limit to a minimum the number of people in the clinic. That will, in turn, give the dentist an opportunity to spend more time with you and continue to treat you in a friendly, personal and relaxed environment.

Even though the type of service we provide was understandably considered “non essential” for a few months, the role of your dentist and the dental hygienists as healthcare contributors cannot be underestimated.

And while we continue to navigate through these uncharted waters of the covid 19 pandemic and the “new normal” gradually becomes the only normal, it is important to remember that good oral health care continues to be essential!

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