COVID-19 has touched almost every aspect of our lives, and that includes routine appointments with your dentist or orthodontist. In this post, we’ll discuss the new rules and regulations regarding seeing your Collingwood dentist for orthodontic work during these uncertain times.
Staying Safe While Preserving Your Oral Health
Many patients wonder if it’s safe to visit their dentist for orthodontic work while COVID-19 is still with us. In late spring/early summer 2020, a number of restrictions were lifted in provinces across Canada and patients could see their dentist or orthodontist once again. But you may notice your dentist's office looks very different than it did before COVID-19, and there are new protocols to follow in order to keep both staff and patients safe.
Because attending appointments with your dentist is an important aspect of your oral health as you progress through orthodontic treatment, we have put in place extra procedures and protocols to ensure everyone stays safe.
New Rules & Regulations Under COVID-19
For your orthodontist or dental office to stay open during the pandemic, all updated safety rules from provincial regulating bodies and governments must be met. Dentists and orthodontists must adhere to this guidance, along with the most up-to-date information from their province’s Chief Medical Officer of Health when providing care. This includes:
- Appointments scheduled to allow for physical distancing, and disinfection of treatment areas between patients. When booking your appointment keep in mind that everyone is now on a time crunch, and that may mean you need to schedual an appointment further ahead or that there will be less flexibility in your dentist’s daily schedule. There must also be time for treatment areas to be disinfected between each appointment.
- Potentially waiting outside until we have adequate space for you. Depending on the office, you may be asked to wait outside and call when you arrive. You’ll be notified when it’s appropriate to enter.
- Socially distanced waiting rooms. You’ll find chairs in our waiting area are spaced 2 metres apart. Unfortunately, at this time there can be no magazines, toys or other non-essential items as we try to reduce the number of touchable surfaces.
- Screening questions prior to appointment. Before your appointment, your dentist or their staff will ask you pre-screening questions to learn whether you have any symptoms of COVID-19. You’ll need to answer these questions again when you arrive on the day of your appointment, in addition to having your temperature taken with a touchless thermometer.
- Use of hand sanitizer required. For your safety and that of others, you’ll be asked to use a 70 to 90 percent alcohol-based solution, or soap and water, upon entering or leaving the office.
- Rescheduling appointments for sick patients. If you have any flu-like symptoms (difficulty breathing, cough, fever), or may have been exposed to someone with COVID-19, please stay home. If you have an upcoming orthodontic appointment, please call your orthodontic office to report symptoms, reschedule or inquire about other care options.
- Wearing a face mask. Except for while you are being treated, you will be asked to wear a face mask or face covering while in the office.
- Protective gear for office staff, dentists and orthodontists. In addition to surgical face masks, your orthodontist and their staff will wear correct personal protective equipment (PPE) during in-person appointments.
- Attending your appointment alone. At this time it's important to remember that the fewer people we have in the office, the safer it is for everyone. With that in mind, you should plan to attend your appointment alone. Exceptions are made for children and people who require assistance. If the patient needs a parent or caregiver, that person will also be subject to all screening questions/measures.
- Touchless payment. Plan to use your debit card or credit card to pay any balance owing on your appointment.
How to Handle Orthodontic Emergencies
Do you have an orthodontic emergency and are wondering what to do? Call your orthodontist and tell them about your situation. They will be able to provide advice on which steps to take. If you need to visit the office, they will let you know if they can help you or direct you to another orthodontist or emergency clinic.
What is an orthodontic emergency?
Orthodontic emergencies can involve:
- Broken orthodontic appliances, or wires poking into your cheek that you can’t fix yourself temporarily.
- Experiencing an intense amount of pain that can’t be resolved by taking an over-the-counter pain medication or rinsing with salt water to reduce inflammation.
In these cases, call our practice as soon as possible and we can get you in as soon as possible. In the meantime, ice the affected area. If part of your orthodontic appliance has broken, try to find it, and bring it along to your appointment.