As we move into a new phase of ‘normality after the Covid-19 pandemic, there is still a lot of anxiety and stress regarding how businesses and certain services will operate to limit the spread of Covid. Services such as dentists are trying to get their patients back into the clinic as oral health is a major part of overall health and should not be neglected.
To curb the stress and anxiety, dentists have called upon governing bodies to provide clarity on which guidelines and rules they should follow for reopening. Therefore, the Ontario Dental Association has marked out some ways in which dental clinics can reopen without putting staff or patients at risk of Covid. With these new measures in place, it seems that dental clinics maybe some of the safest and Covid free places we’ll see.
During the pandemic, certain businesses that remained open such as supermarkets reported Covid outbreaks even when Covid safety rules were abided by. Social distancing, mask-wearing, and sanitation stations sometimes are not enough. Consequently, services such as dentists cannot solely abide by some of these basic measures and instead need to be extra safe as most of their services rely on close contact.
Many dental clinics began to use virtual appointments during the pandemic to avoid in person contact and only emergency or urgent appointments could be accepted. This worked great up to the point of reopening and now there is a surge of existing and new clients who are waiting to see a dentist after months of deferring their appointments.
The ODA drew up some rules that are aimed at truly keeping dental clinic staff and clients safe during this time and avoiding or preventing any possible Covid spread. Some of these rules include asking all patients Covid screening questions prior to their appointment, only if they pass the screening can they see a dentist, waiting outside the clinic for their appointment, staff wearing full PPE during an emergency and urgent situations, and a maximum three-hour period between clients (depending on the air filtration system) to keep the clinic bacteria-free.
A local dentist along with many other dental offices has thus extended their working hours and is taking appointments on the weekends to accommodate these new rules. This is a great incentive so that customers and staff are not overwhelmed by the reopening and everyone can get care with ease. With these new guidelines and the general Covid safety rules, any potential case of Covid can be traced back and all patients can be notified as soon as possible.
Knowledge and safety measures are the keys to preventing and curbing this stress that may arise for reopening. So far it seems that dental clinics may be the safest and trustworthy services due to their extensive rules and ensuring that oral problems do not lead to other more severe health problems relating to Covid. Only time will tell if these new measures are the way to reduce the spread and hopefully, more businesses can come up with ways to keep both staff and patients safe while re-entering into the post-Covid phase.