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The New Normal

N

needlephobic

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Jun 7, 2014
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14
Curious for anyone who has been to a dentist since COVID became a thing what the new normal looks like in going to the dentist? I had an appointment for a cleaning and check up but it was cancelled. I imagine it will be quite a while before they reschedule but I am already a little nervous about what the new normal will look like now. I’ve read things online about possibly having 2 people working on you at once, lots of extra PPE, and having to rinse your mouth before going in. I already have massive dental anxiety and I feel like this is only going to make it worse.
 
Enarete

Enarete

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Hi there, I don‘t think there will be that much new measures at the dentist as the infection control is always high there - masks, sanitizing surfaces after every person, filtering the air etc.. The problem as far as I understood is that whenever the dentist uses a handpiece - which is used for pretty everything, be it polishing, fillings, cleaning, aerosol gets produced and can, despite the suction, flow freely in the air. But still, there are many countries where dentists keep on practicing as usually. The only measures I could think of cold be: asking you to sanitize your hands uppon arrival and asking you to rinse with a mouthwash as the first thing before the dentist takes a look. Shaking hands might be an issue too. Wondering about the 2 people working on you at once.. they do already, you have the dentist and the nurse, don‘t you?
I worry about this too btw. and hope that at the time of my appointment things will get normal again.
 
T

Thephilsblogbar

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Apr 23, 2015
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661
Location
United Kingdom
I agree with Enarete says about sanitizing hands, even before the covid19 the dental practice I went to had hand sanitize but we were not asked or be reminder to use it.

I am worried I should have gone in April 2020 for a checkup
 
Judythecat

Judythecat

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Mar 7, 2018
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604
I think there will be a huge backlog of patients who need treatment before they can see people for checkups - I was also due one in April and am so anxious about missing it. I have never missed a checkup before in my life!

I think they will be able to see fewer patients because more cleaning will be required in between. I’m not even a particularly nervous patient other than injections, but I ALWAYS get really sweaty palms on the chair arms! Before my dentist closed they were asking people not to come early, and not to bring anyone with them, to keep numbers of people in the waiting room as low as possible. I always go alone, but I know some people prefer to take someone else along for support, so this could be an issue.
 
M

MountainMama

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I have been in to my dentist three times and my oral surgeon twice. The first two times at the dentist were during the time that the office was closed to regular appointments. The only real difference was that the dentist and hygienist wore masks the whole time and there was only one patient at a time.
The last time I went, a few weeks ago, the office had just opened. There was a little more precaution. We had our temperature taken at check in, and I was asked to use hand sanitizer and they had me rinse my mouth with a mouthwash. Nothing else was out of the ordinary.
The oral surgeon was similar, but I was asked to stay in my vehicle and call when I got there. A tech came and got me and brought me in. They took my temperature outside before I went in.
Overall, the dentist and the surgeon were relaxed and no one had any visible anxiety which calmed me down as well.
 
kitkat

kitkat

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Before my dentist closed they were asking people not to come early, and not to bring anyone with them, to keep numbers of people in the waiting room as low as possible. I always go alone, but I know some people prefer to take someone else along for support, so this could be an issue.
That’s an interesting point Judythecat. I always go alone so I hadn’t thought about that but I know a lot of people do like to have someone with them for support. I have a cleaning/checkup in mid-July and I am half expecting them to call me to reschedule due to being so backlogged but I haven’t heard anything from them yet.
 
T

Thephilsblogbar

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United Kingdom
The practice I go to before lockdown had on the website, you be asked to use hand sanitizer upon arrive. and the standard before lockdown in the United Kingdom high temperature and the cough

I am expecting when I go for my re-arranged appointment we would be asked to wait outside and get there for a certain time. (since not everyone owns a mobile phone or may have difficults using one)

As for appointments in my lifetime I have missed two (not counting this as my 3rd) one time the practice years ago forgot to write down the date in the diary (even though it was printed on a piece of paper) 2nd was an arranged appointment as my dentist was away, I could not make the re-arranged one due to coming back from the Caribbean from a holiday with my parents, as the appointment was on the morning we got back, I have had no sleep since you fly back overnight back to the UK from the Caribbean.
 
krlovesherkids777

krlovesherkids777

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I don't have much to add other than what others have said already. I do know the place I will get my cleaning is different than my dentist they contacted me and rescheduled my April cleaning to August. so a bit out. My dentist isn't the best at communication /letting pts know about what is going on with Covid. haven't heard anything there. but imagining they are busy as being emergency. I've heard from other practices who have sent their protocals lettting people know they will be wearing the ppe and not be alarmed. asking people to wait in cars until appt times then they will take tempurature before you come in and use the mouthwash. Also mentioning having less people in the space for social distancing factors giving more time between patients .

I was allowed to shadow at a community dental place last year for a few days and so I get their emails for volunteers and see the standards of sterilization and care and I know they are very high both during and between exams even on a precovid everyday basis as Enarate said. they let me help and learn it for a few days it was interesting all that was involved.
 
Enarete

Enarete

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I think they will be able to see fewer patients because more cleaning will be required in between.
I feel the urge to explain one thing. The usual sanitizing protocol works like this: the whole treatment room gets sanitized after every single patient every single time, no matter what is being done. As a dental nurse your job is to: bring away all instruments and throw away all one way articles, take high-power-super-sanitizer and wipes and you go over: the whole chair, the lamp, the surface of the tray holder + the arm of it, any other surface that got touched or is near of something that got touched, the sink, the handpieces, the chair of the dentist, the chair of the nurse, the visitors chair.. and.. basically everything. If your colleague nurse joins you to tell you a story and sits in the chair for a second, as she gets up you have to clean it again. After all is done, you put out new one-way articles. This gets done after every patient, even if no procedure was done. Not sure there is any way there can be more cleaning than that.
Agree on the fewer patients though, just because any crowding should be avoided.
 
Judythecat

Judythecat

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Mar 7, 2018
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604
I feel the urge to explain one thing. The usual sanitizing protocol works like this: the whole treatment room gets sanitized after every single patient every single time, no matter what is being done. As a dental nurse your job is to: bring away all instruments and throw away all one way articles, take high-power-super-sanitizer and wipes and you go over: the whole chair, the lamp, the surface of the tray holder + the arm of it, any other surface that got touched or is near of something that got touched, the sink, the handpieces, the chair of the dentist, the chair of the nurse, the visitors chair.. and.. basically everything. If your colleague nurse joins you to tell you a story and sits in the chair for a second, as she gets up you have to clean it again. After all is done, you put out new one-way articles. This gets done after every patient, even if no procedure was done. Not sure there is any way there can be more cleaning than that.
Agree on the fewer patients though, just because any crowding should be avoided.
That’s really interesting, thanks for explaining. I read somewhere that treatment rooms were taking an hour to clean between patients in the emergency hubs, which is why they saw so few patients - hence the horror stories on the BBC of people extracting their own teeth because they couldn’t get in!
 
Judythecat

Judythecat

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Just updating here to say I had an email from my dental surgery this morning - they have been great at sending out updates. There's a load of FAQs, but I thought this section might be of interest and relevant to this thread.

What are your plans to reopen your dental practices?

Safety of our patients and colleagues is our top priority, so we are closely monitoring the situation and will reopen as soon as we are able to do so. Once practices are open, it is likely that there will be a number of changes in place to further protect patients and staff. These will include enhanced hygiene procedures, having your temperature checked before entering the surgery, and the dental team wearing additional protective equipment to keep everyone safe. We will share more details on this soon.
 
G

geos

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Joined
Dec 22, 2011
Messages
470
Location
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
Looking at the local guidelines, It seems what will change on the look of the staff is the use of isolation gowns and in some case a different type of mask. Looks like everyone would have a mask, but a different level depending on what is going on. Protocols and policies will be put in place or adapted in the offices to consider COVID-19. One example they were mentioning was to have people wait in their car until they get called in. They also mentioned removing all items not needed (toys for example) and to change the material (of waiting room chairs for example) to something that can easily be sanitized.

One thing I find amazing is the use of teledentistry to offer help to patients remotely. My local dental society seems to even approve the use of teledentistry to see non-essential cases.

I was suppose to have a cleaning last week and it got rescheduled in August. I already had the following appointment booked in September, so I guess I’ll keep that one until the one in August happens.
 
BoxerMom

BoxerMom

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Jun 23, 2019
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Us
I’ve had two appointments in the last two weeks (one this morning) to start on my permanent dentures. My dentist’s office has me call when I arrive and wait for them to come get me - leaving is the same procedure in reverse - they’re making sure there’s only one patient at a time in the common areas. First stop is the temperature check, then questions about your exposure risk. Anyone in the exam area with me is fully protected. They have me wash my hands then rinse with hydrogen peroxide for 30 seconds. I notice that they keep the patients one room apart. I can’t comment on what their procedure is after I leave. I had questioned coming in for an appointment since mine is all cosmetic but they insisted that it was ok.
 
N

needlephobic

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Joined
Jun 7, 2014
Messages
14
Thanks so much everyone for your replies. To answer the question about 2 people at once, where I am from cleanings are only done with a hygienist and 2 people are used for procedures usually. My area released a rather large list of things that are to be done prior for dentistry to reopen so it seems like I will be waiting another while. All that you have all mentioned is included. I will likely have to wait in the car, have my temperature taken, and use a mouthwash. This will be a challenge for me as I have a rather lengthy list of negative experiences contributing to my fears and anxiety and vomiting after using mouthwash when I had my wisdom teeth removed is one. It’s taken me a long time to be able to use it regularly for 30 seconds let alone a minute. While I prefer to attend appointments alone and do not like to bring a support person, there is a particular staff member who has helped me a lot but I feel this will change as the extra person will likely not be allowed in. They have been advised to social distance when possible which will prevent any physical touch (like holding someone’s hand) which has been done in the past for me at times. Hopefully everything goes alright when I am eventually able to make it in and they won’t find anything wrong as procedures are a hundred times harder than cleanings!
 
letsconnect

letsconnect

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They made a video at Boyne Dental in Navan (starring our very own Niall Neeson :) !) which shows the Covid measures in action, if anyone is interested (warning: video is aimed at general public/existing patients and contains explicit dental treatment room scenes starting at about 30 seconds)

 
T

tazey

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Joined
Feb 2, 2018
Messages
618
Location
Hampshire U.k
Thanks so much everyone for your replies. To answer the question about 2 people at once, where I am from cleanings are only done with a hygienist and 2 people are used for procedures usually. My area released a rather large list of things that are to be done prior for dentistry to reopen so it seems like I will be waiting another while. All that you have all mentioned is included. I will likely have to wait in the car, have my temperature taken, and use a mouthwash. This will be a challenge for me as I have a rather lengthy list of negative experiences contributing to my fears and anxiety and vomiting after using mouthwash when I had my wisdom teeth removed is one. It’s taken me a long time to be able to use it regularly for 30 seconds let alone a minute. While I prefer to attend appointments alone and do not like to bring a support person, there is a particular staff member who has helped me a lot but I feel this will change as the extra person will likely not be allowed in. They have been advised to social distance when possible which will prevent any physical touch (like holding someone’s hand) which has been done in the past for me at times. Hopefully everything goes alright when I am eventually able to make it in and they won’t find anything wrong as procedures are a hundred times harder than cleanings!
Where do you live? Does it say anything on your list about implants? Mouthwash would also be an issue for me as most have sweeteners in also I normally have someone with me each time but I guess it will vary place by place.
 
Enarete

Enarete

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Adding a video from the Craigentinny Dental Practice (Fraser Hendrie who provided several articles for DFC) describing how they handle they patients since the reopening today:

 
S

SallyUK

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Apr 3, 2011
Messages
294
Just adding to this for information in case anyone is concerned about visiting the dentist in UK with COVID measures in place. I had to visit the dentist today, it is a private dentist.

Main differences at my practice:
- No on the day appointments, next available according to priority of need
- I had to pay in advance to avoid using reception - the reception are was closed
- My dentist telephoned me the day before to ask questions on my situation, to avoid having to have lengthy discussions at the appointment time. I also text photos and further details to him
- Arrive at dentists and called them to say I was there. Waited outside. Nurse came to the door, gave me a sterile bag/pouch to put my belongings in. I had my car keys and phone and had been told to bring as little as possible and come alone if possible.
- my temperature was taken and then I was asked to use hand gel and then aloud inside and escorted straight to the surgery room
- I had to wear goggles instead of glasses. Dentist and nurse dressed in full PPE and I could tell it was harder to hear what he was saying, not a problem, but something to be aware of.
- There were no tools used that had water involved. I wasn't allowed to rinse my mouth after. The room was very sparse and no music playing. Doors to the outside were open.
- At the end of the treatment I picked up my bag/pouch of belongings and left/
- Dentist will do a follow up telephone call to go through what he did (although he did tell me at the time) and answer any questions I might have.

I was advised that they are doing assessment appointments first and limited appointments per day for treatment as they are required to leave the room empty for an hour after a treatment that involves aerosols before they do a thorough clean.

at some level all these steps clearly desciribe to me calmed me a bit when i was there, as all I had to do was follow instructions. Trust my dentist and leave. None of my usual 'i want to know everything' approach and being chatty. Just let him get on with it and then left.
 
krlovesherkids777

krlovesherkids777

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Wow.. sounds like they are very thorough and good with all their precautions. Sounds like a safe place.
 
Susanne

Susanne

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USA
The thing that concerns me about the COVID screening procedures in healthcare offices or other businesses is that someone could be an asymptomatic carrier and not show any symptoms such as fever, so doing a temperature check doesn't seem like it would make a difference in terms of safety.

Also, would dentists absolutely refuse to treat a patient who wasn't wearing a mask or who removed theirs before going into the treatment room? Where I live here in the States, there are a lot of people who are stubbornly refusing to wear masks or are wearing them improperly and the COVID cases are skyrocketing. Makes me pretty nervous about going to the dentist. I really need to have my wisdom teeth out, but my family doctor/GP is advising to hold off on going anywhere because the COVID situation here is so bad.😬
 
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