When the COVID-19 pandemic first reached America, most dentists postponed elective procedures and only treated patients with dental emergencies. While the majority of dentists are now open for checkups again, you’ll find that their office looks a lot different than it did last year. For one, there are no longer any magazines, toys, or other familiar items in the waiting room. In some cases, your dentist may have even removed the chairs. Keep reading to find out how removing these items from the reception area is just one part of a COVID-19 dental safety plan to keep you, the staff, and the whole community safe from germs.
How COVID-19 Spreads
According to health experts, the novel coronavirus primarily spreads through respiratory droplets. These particles are released whenever an infected person coughs, sneezes, or even talks, and they can make another person sick if they come into contact with their eyes, nose, or mouth.
However, these infected droplets can fall onto surrounding surfaces and survive for quite some time. If you touch an item on which these particles have settled, you could unknowingly infect yourself and others.
The Coronavirus Can Linger on Magazines and Toys
The amount of time that COVID-19 can survive depends on what surface it’s on. It can live for up to several days on objects that you most likely touch every day, such as:
- Paper. While it depends on the type of paper, COVID-19 can linger on surfaces like newspaper and magazines for up to five days.
- Plastic. Some studies report that the virus can survive on plastic items like light switches, toys, and credit cards for three days, while others suggest it can live for up to a whole week.
- Metal. Doorknobs, keys, and other stainless-steel items can harbor the virus for two or three days.
How Your Dentist Is Keeping the Waiting Room Germ-Free
Because COVID-19 can survive on a variety of surfaces for a long time, your dentist has removed magazines, toys, and other frequently touched items from the reception area. In fact, they’ve eliminated waiting in that room entirely. These days, you’ll simply remain in your car when you arrive at the office and give the front desk a call letting them know you’re there. When the dentist is ready to see you, they’ll call you back and you can proceed straight to the treatment room.
Safety protocols like these, as well as more frequent cleaning, social distancing, and performing health screenings of every patient and team member, make the dentist’s office one of the cleanest and safest places you could be. While waiting for your appointment to begin might be a little less exciting now, it’s well worth it to make sure you’re safe when getting the dental care that you need.
About the Practice
At Advanced Dental Health Center in the heart of Green Hills in Nashville, we focus on more than just your smile. We’re also dedicated to improving your overall well-being through excellent oral care. That’s why we’ve implemented several new safety protocols, including having patients wait in their cars and removing certain items from the reception area. To learn more about how we keep your smile and your whole body safe and healthy, visit our website or call us at 615-460-0123.