Is it Safe to Visit the Dentist during the Coronavirus Outbreak?

visiting dentist and the coronavirusPoway and Rancho Bernardo, CA

Update: At Smiles by Dr. Cook, we have always held the health and safety of our patients, and our team, to the highest standards possible. Based on recommendations from the ADA and CDC, our practice is temporarily providing emergent dental care only, as of Thursday, March 19, 2020. Dr. Cook plans to resume normal business operations April 8, 2020. However, due to the ever-changing recommendations regarding COVID-19, we encourage you to follow us on Facebook and Instagram to receive the latest information regarding our practice hours and availability. In the meantime, our phone lines remain open. Please call (858) 673-0141 if you experience dental pain or need emergency dental care during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

News headlines are underscoring the importance of preventing the spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19). Because Dr. Nicol Cook, an emergency dentist in Poway, values the health and safety of her patients and staff, we are providing helpful information about dental visits and the coronavirus on our blog today.

The first thing to know about COVID-19 is to remain calm and continue practicing good hand hygiene by frequently washing with soap for 20 seconds each time, covering your mouth when you cough or sneeze, and avoiding close contact with individuals that are ill. One concern for many people is whether they are at risk by going out in public, specifically visiting their Poway dentist. Dr. Cook would like patients to know that going to the dentist during the coronavirus outbreak is safe for most healthy individuals.

The CDC advises that individuals with health problems, such as diabetes, lung diseases, or hypertension, to take extra precautions because they bear a higher risk of complications from COVID-19. If you have an underlying health condition, please contact your primary care physician to discuss whether you should go out in public or receive other medical care, such as visiting the dentist. If you experience a dental emergency, please make your doctor aware of your condition because some dental emergencies, such as an infection, could be life threatening and may need to be treated right away.

Visiting the Dentist During Coronavirus Outbreak

If you have an upcoming six-month checkup, plan on carrying out your normal daily routine and stick to your appointment. Gum disease is a common oral condition that affects nearly half of adults in the U.S. Left untreated, gum disease increases one’s risk of heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and cognitive decline associated with Alzheimer’s, according to the CDC. Therefore, it is not recommended to skip going to the dentist, unless otherwise directed by your doctor or government health officials.

How Poway Dentist Handles Patient Care During Coronavirus Outbreak

For those of us in the dental field, we take necessary sanitation and sterilization precautions daily, regardless of a viral outbreak. It is not always obvious when someone is sick, and many people are contagious before they even know it. That is why we take serious measures to maintain a clean dental office in Poway. Our staff is trained to properly disinfect patient rooms, and any equipment used when treating patients, as outlined by the current OSHA guidelines. Before and after treating each patient, our operatory rooms are disinfected, including all surfaces touched by the dental care team, doctor, and patient. The disinfectant that we use is EPA-approved and kills known viruses, bacteria, and blood-borne pathogens. Equipment or tools used also are disinfected or sterilized appropriately. Our team members adhere to the CDC’s strict protocol of hand hygiene both before and after meeting with each patient. Rest assured that your Poway general dentist’s office, Smiles by Dr. Cook, has long since enforced the highest standards of cleanliness for the health and safety of our patients, and staff.

Who should avoid going to the dentist right now?

If you are sick with a cough or fever or have been in contact with someone that has received a positive test result for the coronavirus, we urge you to contact our office before your appointment. For the safety of our team and other patients, we would like to discuss your condition privately with you before your appointment. In the event that you are sick, yet experience a dental emergency, please call Dr. Cook’s office to receive instructions for care. Otherwise, healthy individuals are advised to continue on with their daily routine, including dental visits.

If you would like more information or have questions or concerns about your health and safety when visiting our dental office during the coronavirus outbreak, please contact Smiles by Dr. Cook or (858) 673-0141. We welcome patients in Poway and Rancho Bernardo.

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