COVID and Dentistry


Most frequent questions and answers

Pandemics are serious and dentistry is not taking this lightly. Just like the advent of AIDS ushered changes in how we deliver dentistry, COVID-19 will bring about a new set of changes to keep everyone safer. As dentists, we are highly trained to minimize the transmission of diseases and as such, it is within our scope to tackle it. All of us will be undergoing additional training to deliver dentistry safely withing this pandemic. Read more of the FAQ to see why under these uncertain times you can feel more confident in seeing the dentist.

Business is not as usual. Our preliminary efforts are aimed at keeping the office free of COVID in the first place. You will be asked a number of questions pertaining to your potential exposure to COVID. Questions pertaining to your travel history, your medical history and how you are feeling will all be explored prior to your invitation to the office. These questions will be asked of you remotely (either by phone or online virtually). We will try to plan for your visit as much as possible before your visit.  Our efforts will also focus on trying to do dentistry with fewer visits in order to limit the risk.

  • do you have symptoms of COVID-19: cough, sore throat, shortness of breath, runny nose, sneezing, post-nasal drip, loss of smell or taste with or without fever, headache, fatigue and chills or muscle aches?
  • have you been in close contact or have been in isolation with a suspected case in the last 14 days?
  • have you travelled to regions with high levels of Covid-19 or are experiencing an increase in new numbers in the last 14 days?
  • when you arrive for your appointment, your pre-screening responses will be confirmed and recorded in your record

Our actions are guided by the following organisations: BC Centre for Disease Control, BC Provincial Infection Control Network, WorkSafeBC and our College CDSBC.

  • When possible, we will attempt to perform dentistry without instruments that are known to generate aerosols (high speed handpiece, ultrasonic instruments, air/water syringe). However, this isn’t always possible to complete the task. When this is necessary we will wear the following PPE:
  • wear eye protection that includes a full face shield/visor over our safety glasses or loupes
  • wear gloves
  • wear clinical scrubs that allow us to wash our hands and forearms
In addition to this we will:
  • use a high volume suction
  • use a rubber dam or isolation device whenever possible
  • all unnecessary equipment and items will be removed from the operatory
  • we will use radiographs (xrays) that don’t require us to be in the mouth when possible
  • there will be an increased frequency of cleaning throughout the office.
  • our operatories are largely enclosed to minimize the transportation of aerosols
  • the HVAC in our office provides 100CFM of airflow leading to the air being exchanged 7.5 times every hour.
  • all hard surfaces will be wiped down using a two-step process; first with water and detergent then followed with a hospital grade disinfectant with activity against respiratory virus, including COVID-19
  • we’ve decreased cloth and fabric surfaces
  • our water lines will be flushed for 20-30 seconds between patients
  • We have backflow prevention valves on my suctions
  • We have electric handpieces which reduce aerosols
  • We follow our governing bodies’ guidelines for use of PPE
  • we will stagger appointment times between patients to minimize contact

Your dental situation will decide how this will be handled. We won’t be seeing patients with active Covid-19 but we will arrange for you to be treated. You will have to contact us by phone for directions on how to proceed.

We will ask you to reschedule should you become sick or are placed on self-isolation or have travelled to regions with high numbers of Covid-19 or are experiencing an increase in new numbers in the last 14 days. We will also ask you to come alone when possible. We’ll do our best to have you fill out the required forms at home. They will be sent to you by email or provided on our website.

Patients who fall under the following conditions are considered higher risk for contracting COVID and you will be encouraged to book for the first appointment of the day to reduce the risk.

  • Serious respiratory disease
  • serious heart conditions
  • immunocompriomised conditions
  • severe obesity
  • diabetes
  • chronic kidney disease or undergoing dialysis
  • liver disease
  • pregnant patients
  • patients over 70 years old

This amounts to a lot of extra work and expense in addition to making our delivery of dentistry much more difficult and laborious. With that said, it needs to be done this way so that it provides everyone (patients and ourselves included) with the confidence that we are providing an essential service in a matter that is as safe as possible. 

The summation of the article is that with some modifications, we are already quite equipped to handle dentistry during a pandemic.  Both of my operatories are equipped with two high volume suctions in addition to the saliva ejector. Both are capable of sucking 1 Liter of water in 8 seconds (The standard being 1 Liter in 60 seconds) The link to the article is below.

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