Thanks to new restrictions and safety protocols implemented due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, things are going to be different the next time you walk into your dentist’s office.
“We will be wearing different masks, we will be wearing face shields for many of our procedures,” Dr. Terri Tiersky, a dentist and president of the Chicago Dental Society, says. “We will be wearing gowns that will be disposed of or sterilized after use.”
Tiersky, like many other dentists, is readying her office for all of the new requirements designed to keep dentists, hygienists, and their patients safe during the pandemic.
“As dentists and hygienists, we are really exposed to aerosols, perhaps more than any other healthcare profession,” she says.
Many procedures will look different, including a simple teeth cleaning.
“As a patient, you might see that your hygienist or your dentist may not be doing that final polish at the end for right now, and that’s okay. You want to stay safe,” Tiersky says. “We might even look a little scary with all of our PPE, but the point is that the patients will see those differences, and they should know that it’s for their own safety, and for our safety as well.”
Other changes will also be made, including spacing out seats in waiting rooms and installing clear barriers at the front desk.
“Although our practice will look a bit different and we will look a little bit different, everyone will stay safe and everyone can feel comfortable,” Tiersky says.
For now, dentists and their patients are left to try to become comfortable with what will likely be the new normal for the foreseeable future.