Dentists have opened up their practices again and are now scheduling appointments for new and existing patients. The primary difference is that they’re putting dozens of new COVID-19 safety protocols into place to ensure that patients and staff stay safe by limiting the spread of any droplets. One important practice that they’re implementing is having you rinse your mouth before your treatment begins. Read on to learn why this is so important and how it impacts the spread of COVID-19.
How is COVID-19 Spread?
COVID-19 is contracted via droplet spread that comes into contact with the mucous membrane, or your eyes, nose, or mouth. Because your dentist will be working in your mouth to ensure that cavities are filled and your teeth are clean, this can be especially worrisome for both patients and staff. With dozens of new preventive measures in place, they’ll be able to continue to provide safe dental healthcare to patients without worrying about spreading COVID-19.
Why Are Dentists Having Patients Rinse Before Treatment?
One common safety precautions that most dentists are putting into place is having patients rinse their mouth before and during their appointment, instead of just after. While little is known about this precaution statistically, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention does state that mouthrinse does help significantly reduce the number of microorganisms in your mouth that can also enter your bloodstream.
During a dental and cleaning, polishers and other dental instruments can create a mist, or aerosol form of the virus, which can spread and travel, contaminating surrounding surfaces of the treatment area. When paired with inter-appointment disinfecting and sanitizing, rinsing your mouth with antimicrobial wash beforehand may also be able to limit droplet spread.
What is in the Pre-Procedural Rinse Dentists Use?
The CDC recognizes several rinses that reduce microbes and bacteria in the mouth. For the most part, they contain ingredients such as chlorhexidine gluconate, povidone iodine, and alcohol, among others. Some dentists are also using a diluted solution of hydrogen peroxide. Although the percentage depends on the individual professional, it’s typically 1.5 percent concentration or lower.
What Other Safety Protocols Is Your Dentist Implementing?
As well as pre-procedural mouth rinsing, your dentist is also implementing a variety of additional safety protocols. The best way to learn more about each individual one is to visit their website; however, here are some of the basic practices in place:
- Advanced staff training
- Daily team health checks
- Limited contact
- Sequenced patient scheduling
- Patient pre-screenings
- Sanitizing after each appointment
- Full staff PPE
- Clear barriers
If you have any questions or would like to learn more about your dentist’s new COVID-19 safety practices, don’t hesitate to contact their office. With so much uncertainty about the virus, your dental staff wants you to know that they’re doing everything within their power to make sure you remain healthy while getting the necessary dental healthcare you require.
About the Author
Dr. Gregory Solich has been practicing dentistry for years and is passionate about helping patients optimize their oral health and keep their natural smiles for their lifetime. He is an active member of several professional organizations and has been voted “Top Dentist in Colorado Springs” by Style Magazine. His practice has currently implemented 20 safety precautions in response to COVID-19 in an effort to keep patients safe and healthy. For questions or to schedule an appointment, visit his website or call 719-548-9393.