The COVID-19 pandemic has had a devastating impact on businesses all across America. There is not a single industry that has been untouched. Now that the signs are beginning to turn towards a positive light and the nation is seeing glimpses of what life will be like on the other side of this chapter, precautions must be made to ensure the continued safety of not only the general public but of professionals who are also putting themselves at risk. Nowhere is this true more than the dental industry. This virus has a known respiratory avenue of contagion, and the very definition of dental care, whether you are a dental hygienist or a dentist, is to put yourself at risk.
In addition to the actual oral practitioners, there is also a risk when it comes to a standard office environment. People will need properer social distancing guidelines set forth in the waiting rooms and during the check-in and checkout parts of their visit. Depending on the state’s restrictions surrounding COVID guidelines, all patients in public areas might require mouth covering. Reception staff and clerks might need it as well. Proper cleaning of all items touched by members of the public will need to be wiped down between each encounter, including all surfaces and any pens that are used.
Just like with other medical practices, staff will have the right to ask patients if they display any COVID symptoms and whether they’ve come into contact with anyone who might possibly be infected. Staff will also have the right to request that potentially infected clients go for testing and reschedule their appointment, in the interest of public safety. As a time-saver, staff will also notify clients over the phone prior to coming in for an appointment that they will need to abide by these special precautions if they want to come in.
As far as supplies go, all protective personal equipment (PPE) such as masks, gloves, and goggles will most likely start to be manufactured in America, as opposed to China. Healthcare offices cannot run without a supply of protective gear, and that will also have an impact on when dental practices will be operational once again. Another factor is the insurance coverage held by policyholders such as medical practices. Insurance companies are facing an unprecedented amount of claims which they will try to fight, including ones made by dentists.