Dentistry and COVID-19
The total impact of the COVID-19 pandemic has been far-reaching and seemingly ever present. Dental clinics like iSmile Dentistry have been required by changes to law to adapt their everyday practice to maintain compliance with social distancing and other COVID-19 precautions. In this article we outline some of the key issues faced by the field of dentistry regarding dentistry and COVID-19.
What to think about before going to the dentist?
The coronavirus that causes COVID-19 spreads through respiratory droplets. For example, coughing or sneezing. These viruses can also be found in your mouth and throat. Let your dentist know if you feel unwell with COVID-19 symptoms. Symptoms include fever, cough, and shortness of breath. Our clinic is registered with NSW Health and has established a Covid-Safe Plan. All patients will be required to scan the QR code to check in before entering the premise. You will feel safe knowing that we, your local dentist, are playing our part in your safety.
COVID-19 and its impact on dentists in NSW
Restrictions on oral health care practice were imposed during the pandemic by the Australian Dental Association and have since been lifted. At the start of the pandemic, in March 2020, Level 3 restrictions meant that dentists were not able to provide treatments that involve the production of aerosols. Aerosols are tiny, floating drops of liquid produced by dental treatments. In April 2020, Level 3 dental restrictions were relaxed to Level 2. Under these restrictions, dental treatments could be provided assuming they were unlikely to generate aerosols or in circumstances where a rubber dam can be used to minimise the presence of blood and saliva in aerosols produced by treatment. This meant that some patients were able to access dental treatments for oral health conditions. In May 2020, Level 1 restrictions were imposed which allowed for the provision of dental services, provided patients did not have epidemiological or clinical risk factors for COVID-19 infection transmission. Under level 1 restrictions, most patients could access dental services.
During the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, many patients were unable to access oral health care except for emergency situations. In cases of emergency such as a severe toothache, facial swelling or trauma, it is best to contact your dentist to assess the severity of your condition. Urgent treatment can be managed appropriately depending on the COVID-19 restriction level at the time. Since clinics have been allowed to reopen, congestion means some people suffering from oral health conditions are still somewhat unable to see a dentist. Dental waiting lists are more common than they have ever been before at the present. Practice within dentistry and COVID-19 has had to be adjusted.
Is iSmile Dentistry clinic safe?
In addition to the Covid-safe plan, our staff and dentists follow certain safety guidelines, such as washing our hands routinely and between patients, wearing protective gear, sterilizing tools and equipment, and wiping down surfaces after every patient to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Other measures we have taken include screening patients for COVID-19 risk criteria, spacing out patient appointments, taking temperatures of patients and observing social distancing guidelines. Hand sanitizers are readily available at reception and in the surgery.
If you need to schedule a general check-up at iSmile Dentistry, please call us on 02 8057 1086 or reach out via our contact page to schedule an appointment. At this stage, operation of our dentistry and COVID 19 are still active, yet we are taking appointments. Call us today and we will help you maintain a clean, healthy smile.