With a Regional Stay at Home Order in place, the California Dental Association (CDA) urges residents to follow state guidance while taking steps to maintain their oral health and prevent COVID-19 infections.
In addition to getting flu shots, exercising when safe, and wearing masks, the CDA said, it encourages the public to keep their healthcare appointments including dental visits.
“Because oral healthcare is essential to overall health, it’s important for patients to receive regular dental care by maintaining their dental appointments,” said CDA president Dr. Richard Nagy. “When dental problems are diagnosed early, they’re easier and often less costly to treat.”
During the pandemic, dental practices are safely providing care by adhering to strict infection control guidelines and office protocols established by the California Department of Public Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the CDA said.
Patients visiting dental offices will notice changes to protocols, which are designed to protect patients and staff, including:
- Staggered appointment times to ensure social distancing
- Prescreening questions by phone or text before appointments and when patients arrive
- Fewer people in the waiting room
- Virtual check-ins before entering the office to reduce traffic flow
- Temperature taken upon arrival
- Masks worn by everyone throughout appointments, including patients, except during treatment
- Dentists and dental team members wearing more protective clothing and face protection than before the pandemic
- Other precautions such as magazines and toys removed from the waiting room and sneeze guards at the front desk
To keep teeth and gums healthy, the CDA urges Californians to brush for two minutes twice a day with a fluoride toothpaste, floss regularly with clean hands, avoid sugary drinks, and visit their dentist for regular checkups.
To keep children out of dental pain, parents, should provide each member of the family with their own toothbrush, spoon, fork, or cup. They also should wipe infants’ gums twice a day with a washcloth, clean pacifiers and bottles with water instead of spit, only put water in baby bottles at bedtime, and help children brush and floss until they have mastered these skills.