When a novel, unknown virus arrived in the US, health care professionals took the important and necessary step of limiting their services to only those who were urgent. Dentists, too, performed only those procedures that were absolutely necessary, and postponed preventive and other routine visits.
These vital actions helped to lower the risk of transmission of COVID-19 and helped make sure that personal protective equipment, known as PPE, was available for those professionals providing direct treatment to patients infected with the virus. However, it also meant that routine care was limited.
Researchers have learned a great deal about the virus, and continue to amass more understanding and knowledge each day. The guidelines issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) are updated frequently to reflect that growing body of knowledge, which gives those who provide non-emergency care the information they need in order to provide the services you need.
At Union Square Dental, our team wants to make sure you understand what it’s like to go to the dentist during the pandemic.
A specific virus, known as SARS-Co-V-2, causes COVID-19. It’s a new disease, but behaves similarly to other, better-understood viruses. Scientists believe that it is spread, or transmitted, when an infected person sneezes, coughs or talks and their respiratory droplets come into contact with another person’s eyes, nose, or mouth.
One of the reasons that this virus is especially contagious is that it can survive in the air and on some surfaces for a long time; in some cases, even for days. Another thing is that sometimes infected people don’t have symptoms at all, or are asymptomatic, but can still spread the virus.
All of this means that getting dental care requires some special infection control measures. Obviously, some health care professionals have tested positive for COVID-19, but clusters of infection haven’t been reported in dental settings or among health care personnel.
Dental care during the pandemic
You may be thinking about the fact that dental care involves your mouth, and that respiratory droplets can’t be avoided. Many of the tools we use, like air-water syringes, ultrasonic scalers, and surgical instruments create a visible spray — that may contain saliva, blood, microorganisms, and infectious agents like SARS-Co-V-2.
Any time you come to Union Square Dental, our team is taking what are known as standard precautions, which include:
- Proper hand and respiratory hygiene
- Sanitizing instruments and devices
- Cleaning and disinfecting surfaces
We also use PPE, including gloves, masks, and eyewear. However, surgical masks don’t provide complete protection when it comes to inhaling potentially infectious airborne agents.
Your dental care and your safety
We are following the recommendations from the CDC closely, and exercising great caution in protecting your health and that of our staff members. As of now, we are available to meet your emergency dental needs. We can help if you have:
- Sustained trauma to your mouth
- You are developing significant pain in a tooth, teeth, or your jaw
- Have swollen or painful gums
- Have a cracked, broken, or knocked-out tooth
- You’re bleeding and it won’t stop
- You notice abnormal tissue
We will begin offering non-emergency dental care when it’s safe for us and for you. When that happens, you can be assured that we will follow the latest research and recommendations regarding workplace practices, sterilization and disinfection, and patient and dental health care personnel management.
If you’d like to learn more about getting dental care during the pandemic, call us at 212-675-7877.