What Can Dentists and Patients Expect in a Post-COVID World?
As stay-at-home orders start to loosen and states begin to open up, patients and dentists have begun to wonder what dental care in a post-COVID world might look like. While no one has a crystal ball to use when predicting what long-term changes the pandemic could cause, that hasn’t stopped a variety of professionals from trying to guess. Want to know what professionals are expecting? The best dentist in Pittsburgh, Sixth Street Dental, breaks down the most popular theories on how the pandemic could change the health care system as we know it.
A Rise in Reliance on Telehealth Services
Mobile Apps, Messaging Services, and More Will Allow Dentists and Patients to Stay in Contact With Each Other
As patients continue to grapple between staying at home and going into their dentist’s office, a growing number of people are turning to telehealth services to stay in touch with their dental providers. These services typically include:
- Real-time video conferencing or chatting
- Instant messaging services
- Mobile apps for scheduling appointments and setting reminders
- Digital services to help patients stay on track with their dental care
Some people remain uncomfortable with going out to their dentist’s office, which is why so many patients are turning to mobile apps and video conferencing services to check in with dentists and address any dental issues they might be experiencing.
As telehealth services continue to advance, we might start seeing dentists attempt to diagnose certain dental problems and prescribe the appropriate medications for them using virtual methods. The consultation would be fast and simple. A patient would still go to their dentist for tooth problems and list their symptoms. They might even send their dentist a photo of the problem, if possible.
While this wouldn’t completely replace in-person dental care, it could lower the number of patients coming in and out of the office every day. Dentists can screen patients based on the severity of their cases to determine whether or not they can be handled virtually or in-person.
Stricter Sanitation Rules
Thorough Sanitation Procedures Between Appointments Will Be Followed
Dentistry is currently one of the most dangerous professions to practice due to the ease in which the virus can move amongst equipment and tools. Procedures involving the spraying of aerosol are especially dangerous as the droplets from the spray could act as a mode of transportation for the infection. During a procedure, a dentist could be exposed to diseased particles for hours. To protect themselves, dentists will need to wear N95 masks when performing any procedure requiring the production of aerosol.
Dental clinics will need to employ other sanitary methods, such as:
- Removing extra items such as magazines or newspapers from waiting rooms
- Extending the waiting time between appointments
- Disinfecting common spaces and areas of high activity
- Increasing the number of mandatory safety equipment to include gowns and face shields
- Wiping down chairs and tables between appointments
Implementation of Four-Handed Dentistry
Dentists Need to Keep Procedures Fast and Controlled
Instead of having just one person working on you at a time, you might have an extra set of hands in the room to speed up the appointment. Also known as “four-handed dentistry”, the technique of using two people per patient is designed to cut down on time for a procedure and control the amount of spit that is emitted into the air as much as possible. Some offices have started to employ extra suction devices or HEPA air purifiers to catch any extra aerosol.
Formation of Entry Barriers for Patients
Some Dentists Might Require Patients to Undergo a Health Screening Before Entering Their Offices
Dental providers are already starting to take advantage of telehealth applications and testing kits to screen patients before allowing them into their offices. If a patient reports symptoms of COVID-19 or any other sickness, they will not be able to undergo a procedure. As testing kits and N95 masks grow in availability, an increasing number of dentists might employ this strategy as they start to open their clinics again.
Reduction in Patient Bookings
Prepare to See Fewer People Sitting Around in the Waiting Room — Even at the Clinic of the Best Dentist in Pittsburgh
Crowded waiting rooms may soon be a thing of the past. In order to follow social distancing rules, many dental offices are already starting to remove chairs or adjust their seating layouts to allow for more space between patients waiting for appointments. Offices might also place stricter availabilities for appointments by only allowing a certain number of patients to schedule an appointment at a time or within close proximity to each other.
Do you need to schedule a dental check-up or consultation? Contact the best dentist in Pittsburgh, Sixth Street Dental, today to arrange an appointment. Whether you need to come in for an elective procedure or you want to learn more about our wide array of services, our team members are prepared to assist you.