AAE Patient Statement on COVID-19
UPDATED NOVEMBER 9, 2020 — Knowing where to go for tooth pain or infected teeth during a pandemic can not only save your teeth, but your life and the lives of those in your community and patients can be assured that seeing a dentist or specialized dentist known as an endodontist, is safer than ever.
According to a recent study in the Journal of the American Dental Association, the COVID-19 infection rate among dentists is less than 1 percent, and dentists are taking the utmost care to protect their patients, themselves and their staff.
Patients should know that practicing dentists (all specialties), dental auxiliaries and dental laboratories currently apply infection control procedures as described by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the American Dental Association (ADA).
Along with the standard safety and sterilization precautions regularly implemented, dental offices are taking additional prevention steps including:
- Screening patients for travel history
- Monitoring patients for signs and symptoms of infections
- Having patients fill out a COVID-19 screening questionnaire
- Having all staff, patients, family members wash their hands or use hand sanitizer upon arrival
- Implementing full contact and respiratory precautions by using gowns, gloves, face shield protection, and goggles
- Implementing safe work practices including keeping hands away from face, limiting surfaces touches, changing gloves when torn or heavily contaminated, and performing hand hygiene.
- Increased Frequency in cleaning and disinfecting public areas, including door handles, bathrooms, chairs and front desks
- Increased access to teledentistry
- Limiting patient to patient contact by implementing strict social distancing protocols such as having patients wait in their vehicles while waiting to be seen
Experiencing a dental emergency?
Endodontists’ offices are open and ready to treat your tooth pain. Even at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, the vast majority of endodontists’ offices remained open for emergencies — freeing up ERs. Endodontists are trained to treat urgent dental emergencies related to tooth pain and infection and have the necessary resources and equipment for saving your teeth.
If you have a dental emergency that requires urgent care, seek an endodontist first, not the emergency room or local urgent care. Hospitals have become the front line for COVID-19 infections and may currently be experiencing surges of patients seeking care.
Avoiding the emergency room and urgent care for dental emergencies helps free up hospitals to treat patients with COVID-19 and prevents over-burdening the health system. If you are experiencing severe dental pain, dental infection symptoms (e.g. bleeding, swelling) or a dental infection-related fever, please contact your endodontist immediately or go to findmyendodontist.com to find a local endodontist.
Tips to help keep you and your loved ones healthy:
The health and safety of our patients, endodontists and staff remains our number one priority. Oral health can have a strong effect on overall health, so it is important to continue practicing active and appropriate oral hygiene. Please consider the following tips to continuing maintaining your oral health and preventing the chance for infection:
- Wash your hands BEFORE and AFTER brushing and flossing
- Brush twice a day and remember to clean your tongue
- Keep your toothbrush clean by rinsing your toothbrush with water after brushing and storing in an upright position so it air-dries
- Use mouthwash containing fluoride and hydrogen peroxide.
The AAE will continue to adapt its approach as needed as the situation evolves and additional government guidance is issued.
Please refer to the CDC’s COVID-19 webpage for information about the coronavirus disease. To learn more about the AAE’s efforts to help inform patients and endodontists about COVID-19, please visit its dedicated page for patients: aae.org/patients/covid.