Michiana dentist offices stepping up safety measures

GRANGER, Ind. --- Dentists have always had a high standard of keeping things clean, but since the pandemic started they have ramped up the safety measures even more.

Dental services are likely very essential for people in need of care and now dentists are adding extensive precautions to keep everyone safe.

Endodontic Services in South Bend has continued to see patients over the past two months because most of the patients that come in are dental emergencies, such as experiencing trauma or signs of infection.

They have now ramped up their safety precautions beginning before patients even step in the door.

When patients call in to make an appointment, they ask extensive questions about the patient’s medical history.

Once patients arrive in the parking lot, they are asked to call ahead to ensure social distancing.

When a patient enters the office, all chairs are measured and taped off six feet apart. Everyone is asked to wear a mask and temperatures are taken before heading to patient rooms.

Endodontic Services is also wiping everything down after each patient and utilizing single-use materials—doing everything they can to keep both patients and staff safe.

“I think coming to your general dentist is something you should feel comfortable about,” Lindsey Carter said, Office Manager, Endodontic Services. “I know that all of our staff members and our doctors definitely deeply care about all of our patients and just providing them with the best of care."

Endodontic Services will continue to keep patients and general dentists up to date on the status of their services on their website, according to Carter. The link can be found here.

And as businesses begin to open their doors on Monday as a part of Governor Holcomb’s phase two of the back on track plan, dentists are gradually resuming non-urgent procedures as well.

Most of these non-urgent dental procedures have been postponed for the past seven weeks and while people might be a little hesitant to step back into the office, oral surgeon Dr. Anderson at Granger Oral Surgery and Dental Implants said they are taking a number of precautions to keep people safe.

When social distancing guidelines were first implemented and businesses closed their doors, the team at Granger Oral Surgery and Dental Implants only saw patients for truly emergency procedures, according to Dr. Anderson.

They have now been taking on more urgent cases and as the pandemic has played its course, they have also begun seeing patients on an elective basis.

Besides the everyday universal precautions the office is used to taking, the team has taken safety measures to another level.

Generally, Dr. Anderson gears up in full PPE—including an N-95 mask, gloves, gown and a face shield.

All patients and staff are extensively screened and temperatures are taken.

There are many different types of PPE available to the team and what is important to note is that as the coronavirus develops, standards are constantly evolving.

Essentially, that means the type of PPE Dr. Anderson might wear could be different than what another person in the field of dentistry might wear and it could change as more is learned about COVID-19.

“As the understanding that we have and the information that we have about this virus and how it behaves and how it’s transmitted, as that continues to get deeper in our knowledge and understanding, it allows us to understand things more appropriately and in different ways, make sure that it’s safe knowing more about the virus,” Taite Anderson said, DDS, Granger Oral Surgery & Dental Implants.

According to the North American Dental Group, as many as 45% of Americans have either had to delay a check-up or procedure or have had a new issue spring up during this time of social distancing.

The game plan has not changed, but the plays are being run a little differently, according to Dr. Anderson.

That includes all of the extra precautions the team is taking, such as checking patient temperature and reducing the number of people in the waiting room.

The office also uses negative pressure rooms, which essentially means the air flows into the room and if anyone were to potentially have COVID-19 in that room the air would get expelled out of the building, decreasing the chance of it spreading.

“We’re all doing the best that we can,” Dr. Anderson said. “We’re using information that we have that seems to constantly change and as it changes we’re all trying to make the best decisions in dentistry and I know in our community in particular, we’re being very cautious and very intentional. We don’t want to look back and not have taken enough steps and I don’t think we can regret being too cautious.”

 

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