I have had my six month check-up and cleaning in my calendar for months, but when I made the appointment, I never thought it would be during a pandemic. My dentist’s office reopened recently but schools are still doing distance learning and restaurants are still doing take-out orders. Is it safe to go to the dentist? My teeth are in good shape, so it’s not an emergency, but it is an essential health service. Should I go or should I wait?
Jack, from Orange County, California
No one could have predicted these unprecedented times. Generally speaking, it is safe to go to the dentist as long as you adhere to some basic advice.
Firstly, if you are not feeling well, cancel your appointment. It is better to be safe than sorry. Your dentist will likely be understanding about all this. If your last checkup did not uncover anything concerning, you may be ok to put off your appointment. For example, getting your teeth whitened is not urgent right now, but treating toothaches, damaged teeth, or preventing cavities could be considered urgent.
You can also call your dentist to ask what safety measures have been put in place. Dental offices have always had strict cleaning and sanitizing protocols, but if you have any concerns, your dentist would be the best person to ask. Your dentist would also be the best person to ask as to whether you should put off any treatments or appointments without having any repercussions.
Finally, check with the CDC’s advice prior to any outings. If things change and your local government has a ban on non-essential travel, then you should reschedule your appointment. However, if no bans are in effect and you feel comfortable doing so, you can feel free to keep your appointment. The majority of dental care is preventative, so keeping on top of your appointments will prevent them from becoming emergencies later on.
This blog post is brought to you by Enfield general dentist, Dr. William Cummiskey, of Generations Dental Care.