The coronavirus, or COVID-19, has been labeled by the World Health Organization as a pandemic. To help prevent the spread of the disease, University General Dentists is taking extra precautions and is following all the recommendations of the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) as well as the American Dental Association (ADA). Your health is our top priority, and we are doing everything we can to protect you from the spread of COVID-19.
How Does the Coronavirus Spread?
COVID-19 is spread person-to-person. Someone who is sick with the disease can spread it to others through respiratory droplets, which are produced when they sneeze or cough. For this reason, COVID-19 is mainly spread between people who are in close contact with one another, usually within 6 feet. It is possible to become infected with the disease from touching a contaminated object, but this is not a primary source of spread. People with COVID-19 are most contagious when they are most symptomatic, though it is possible to spread the disease before showing symptoms.
Preventing the Spread of COVID-19 at the Dentist Office
University General Dentists already follows all the regulations and recommendations of the CDC for cleaning and sterilization in the dentist office for infection and disease control. We sterilize all non-disposable dental instruments and individually wrap them to avoid contamination. Disposable items are never reused and are always disposed of properly after use. We clean and disinfect all surfaces in the exam room between patient, including chairs, instrument trays, dental lights, and counters. Because of the rapid spread of COVID-19, we are doubling our cleaning and sanitation efforts. We are cleaning and disinfecting all patient areas more frequently to prevent the possible spread of disease. Our sanitization procedures match and exceed the recommendations of the CDC and ADA.
Additionally, we have instructed our staff to stay home if they experience any symptoms or are exposed to anyone with symptoms of COVID-19. We are also asking that any patients who have symptoms do not come to our dental office and wait until they have been cleared as no longer contagious before making a dentist appointment. These measures are both being taken to protect the health of our patients and reduce the risk of exposure to the virus.
University General Dentists is increasing other health safety measures in our offices as well. We are adhering to respiratory hygiene/ cough etiquette infection control measures, as recommended by the ADA. Our staff are increasing the frequency of handwashing and encouraging patients to wash their hands more frequently as well. We are also providing additional tissues and trash receptacles in our offices so that patients can cover their mouths if they need to sneeze or cough, as well as offering hand sanitizer so that people can clean their hands after coughing, sneezing, or touching surfaces. As always, our dental personnel are using the necessary personal protective equipment, or PPE, to protect themselves and our patients from the spread of disease. This equipment includes gloves, eyewear, face masks, jackets, etc. New equipment is donned for each patient to avoid contamination.
Extra Precautions Taken to Prevent the Spread of Disease
In addition to increasing the standard infection and disease control measures we perform on a daily basis, University General Dentists may begin taking other precautions to prevent the spread of COVID-19. These precautions may include:
- Screening our patients for signs of symptoms of the virus and asking about travel when updating medical histories
- Taking patients’ temperatures during routine assessments before dental procedures
Health Safety and Dental Care at University General Dentists
Here at University General Dentists, the health of our patients is our primary concern. We want you to know that we are doing everything in our power to protect your health when you come in for a dentist appointment. We are increasing our already rigorous cleaning and sanitation procedures as well as following all other recommendations made by the CDC and ADA. We apologize for any inconvenience these extra measures may cause, but they are necessary to protect our patients and our staff from the spread of disease. If you have any questions for us, please call our UT Medical Center office at 865-305-9440 or our West Knoxville office at 865-500-5700.