91 Main St. Port Washington, NY 11050

Opening Hours : M-Th: 10:00 am-7:00 pm, Sat: 9:00 am-2:00 pm
  Contact : 516-944-7000 Se Habla Español

It’s Now Safe to Visit Long Island Dental Offices According to the CDC

In March, many Long Island dental clinics closed their doors to patients. Now, those offices are reopening with new safety procedures in place. As consumers weigh the risks of visiting local businesses, many are left wondering if it’s safe to return to the dentist’s office.

Both the American Dental Association and the Centers for Disease Control recommended that dentists stop preforming all non-essential procedures when COVID-19 cases began to rise in March 2020. This decision was partially motivated by a desire to prevent the spread of coronavirus between patients and providers, but the lack of widespread Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) also played a large role in the recommendation to temporarily close. During routine visits, each patient may require the use of two to three surgical masks and disposable gloves as both hygienists and dentists evaluate the patient. Those resources were desperately needed by hospitals struggling to treat COVID-19 patients. Now that supply chains have caught up with the demand for PPE, dentists and their staff are able to protect themselves without keeping needed supplies from doctors.

Be sure to check out our Commitment to Safety and how we’re doing our best to stop the spread of germs.

Is Visiting Your Dentist Essential?

Delaying routine dental care can lead to serious long-term complications for patients and their wallets. For example, small cavity can be repaired with a simple filling, but if left untreated, the decay may spread into the root of the tooth and require a root canal or full extraction. Dentists and their staff are highly trained medical experts who take patient safety seriously; currently, zero cases of coronavirus infection have been linked to dental offices.

While a routine dental check-up and cleaning is not as essential as visiting the emergency room or receiving life-saving surgery, regular dental check-ups are an important part of a healthy lifestyle. Dentists screen patients for cancers, medication issues and gum problems that could lead to negative outcomes. A recent study in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science determined that banks, colleges and dentists constitute a minor risk but impart a major benefit, especially compared to non-essential businesses like gyms, sit-down restaurants and recreational shopping. Dental offices made the list due to the strong safety checks that dentists are following as well as the possible consequences of continuing to delay preventative treatment.

Recommended Safety Procedures for Port Washington and Long Island Dental Clinics

The Centers for Disease Control has issued a number of safety procedures for dentists to follow. Patients can expect a number of screening steps, such as a phone call to check for symptoms before any appointment can be made, a second phone call the day of the appointment and a temperature check upon arrival at the clinic. Additionally, patients should prepare to wear a cloth facial covering for as much of the visit as possible, to clean their mouths by washing with hydrogen peroxide or another disinfectant before any examination and to use hand sanitizer throughout the visit.

Dentists are also taking safety steps that patients might not immediately recognize. For example, the CDC recommends using rubber dental dams over patients’ mouths and minimizing the use of certain high-powered tools unless absolutely necessary. These precautions may lead to slightly longer visits but are necessary to keep patients and dental staff healthy. Additionally, most dental offices have updated their filtration systems to raise sanitation levels even higher.

Are Orthodontists Safe?

While 3V Dental associates are not considered orthodontists, we provide Invisalign as an alternative to traditional braces. However, as with other forms of dental care, it’s important for patients to keep up with visits to the orthodontist, especially for multi-year interventions like braces that require regular adjustments for maximum effectiveness. The CDC recommends the same safety guidelines for dental specialists like orthodontists. Parents and patients with concerns can contact their local dental office for information about specific safety procedures.

Are More Dental Clinic Closures Possible?

Because routine dentistry check-ups and basic are not essential services, it’s possible that offices will be forced to close again if COVID-19 cases continue to rise. Because dentists are focused on keeping staff and patients safe, local dentists could decide to close temporarily even without orders to do so. Patients with complex issues that require multiple visits, such as having a root canal procedure and receiving a permanent crown several weeks later, may wish to wait until later if possible or discuss a potential back-up plan in case of office closure.

What Can Dental Patients Do?

To keep the community safe, patients should practice self-screening and cancel or reschedule appointments if coronavirus symptoms or possible exposures occur. Patients are also encouraged to contact 3V Dental Associates, or your local Long Island dentist, to catch up on any missed preventative care. Like us, most dental offices are still operating at less-than-regular capacity and limiting the number of patients inside the building at any given time, so patients can attend appointments without worrying.

Be sure to check out our Commitment to Safety and how we’re doing our best to stop the spread of germs.