Is it Safe to go to the Dentist During a Pandemic?

During times of crisis, it can be hard to know what to do or how to navigate through everyday life. Pandemic crises, in particular, may cause uncertainty and wariness in people especially if they do not have adequate information. During the current coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, it is important to follow your state’s guidelines before going anywhere to ensure the safety of yourself and others. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), healthcare providers must follow specific protocol in order to ensure the safety of both patients and staff. Furthermore, dentists were given industry-specific guidelines to follow, further ensuring the health and safety of all. 

Are Dentists open on Long Island?

In New York State, as of June 1st, 2020, all dentists across the state were allowed to open for elective dental care as per Governor Cuomo. Prior to June 1st, 2020, dentists on Long Island were only allowed to provide emergency dental care. Due to recent data, trends, and re-evaluation from the state, elective dentistry has now been considered safe to provide (with proper precautions) without posing a high risk for contracting or spreading COVID-19.

What Precautions do Dentists Need to Take During the Pandemic?

In order to provide the safest dental visit possible, dentists are required to follow the recommended guidelines provided by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC):

  • All patients must be spaced at least six feet apart at all times
  • Dentists must wear proper personal protective equipment (PPE) and provide a face mask to patients if they do not have one and supplies are available
  • Actively screen all personnel for possible signs of coronavirus including temperature taking and symptom checking via telephone and upon entrance into the office
  • Limit visitors that accompany the patient to only those absolutely necessary
  • All patients, staff and visitors must wear a face covering when inside of the office
  • Take all measures possible to alert patients and staff to cover their mouths and noses when coughing and sneezing, and to wash their hands thoroughly.
  • Install physical barriers (shields) in front of all reception areas
  • Remove all toys and magazines from waiting areas
  • Test water lines, suction lines, and sterilization equipment
  • Fully clean, disinfect and sterilize all rooms and equipment after use with a recommended hospital-grade solution
  • Consider installing a HEPA air filtration unit in any areas that may require care that produces aerosols

The aforementioned guidelines are not an exhaustive list of the measures that need to be taken by dentists to ensure your health and safety. For the full list of dental safety guidelines, the CDC provides all of them on their website. Some dental offices are taking further precautions that are not listed, including the installation of HEPA air filters in all rooms and/or locations where increased droplets may be present in the air.

How Can I Protect Myself from COVID-19 at the Dentist?

As a patient, it is important to use all available information as well as personal discretion when you go to your dentist in order to protect yourself and others. Do your research, and make sure that the dental office that you choose is following all recommended safety protocols! Advanced DDS is now open for full-service dentistry on Long Island, NY. We are taking all of the recommended precautions as well as others including HEPA air filters in all rooms and private individual treatment rooms for added safety. Schedule your dental appointment at 516-825-1100.

Infographic detailing the CDC guidelines on what dentists need to do for pandemic protection

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