Dental care visits help keep our teeth and gums healthy. The dentist and his team provide you with dental exams and cleanings to help prevent tooth decay. Dental care visits also allow your dentist to find early signs of oral health concerns and treat them before they become a larger issue. In mid-March, dentists had to limit patient visits to emergency and urgent dental care. This was to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. Now as some states begin to reopen, dentists can return to their dental practice, while taking safety measures to protect staff, patients, and themselves from COVID-19. Dentists can start seeing patients for preventive dental care visits.

What to expect at your next dental visit.

When you call to schedule a dental visit, dental staff may screen you for symptoms of COVID-19. These symptoms may include a fever, cough, sore throat or shortness of breath. Staff may ask that you wear a face covering when you enter the dental office and while you are in the waiting area. The dental staff may also ask you to limit the number of people you bring to your dental visit.

When you arrive at your dental office, you may see signs or posters to inform you of safe health practices. The reception staff may screen you again for symptoms of COVID-19 to make sure nothing has changed. Staff will also take your temperature with a non-contact thermometer.  In the waiting room, you will notice seats further apart and less patients seated. This is to help keep physical distancing of six feet between patients. You will also notice that the waiting area is free of magazines, toys, and any other frequently handled items.

In the patient treatment rooms, you will notice the dentist and his team wearing protective gear, such as a facemask, face shield, googles or a special gown. Dental gear, such as a keyboard may also have a protective cover. You may also see staff cleaning the dental chair, gear, and surfaces. These measures are in place to help protect the patient, and the dental team.

Regular dental visits are important as part of your oral health care. Call your dental office to make an appointment for your routine dental care visit. Dental staff will provide you with guidance and answer your dental care questions. The dentist wants to make sure you have the best dental care and your dental visit is safe for you and his staff.

Resources to help you and your family see a dentist.

Find a Dentist. Find dental and health care services in Orange County.

Paying for Dental Care. Find low and no cost dental services for persons with Medi-Cal, other insurance, who are uninsured, or cannot afford care.

Your Dental Visit during COVID-19. What you should know about returning to the dentist as dental offices reopen from Smile, California.

Return to dental practice. Guidance for dental health care personnel during COVID-19.

Guidance for Resuming Deferred and Preventive Dental Care.  A guide from CDPH to help dental care staff resume preventive dental care services in California during the COVID-19 response.

Return to Work interim Guidance Toolkit. A source of tools from the ADA to help dentists reopen their practice, while keeping their patients, staff and themselves safe.

Guidance for Dental Settings. Guidance from the CDC for resuming non-urgent dental care visits during the COVID-19 response.

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