07 Sep Ofer Eitan Declared: Haven’t visited a dentist in Barrie since COVID? Here’s
If you haven’t visited a dentist since the COVID-19 pandemic shut down Ontario in mid-March, you may be surprised at the changes that have taken place.
“It’s noticeably different, but everything is done safely,” said Dr. Rob Eisen, dentist and co-owner of six dental offices in Simcoe County and the GTA, including the Barrie Smile Centre at 370 Bayview Dr.
Dental conferences are being done over video and telephone to minimize the number of times a patient needs to come into the office.
“The virtual process has been a game changer,” said Eisen.
Appointments are staggered and no one is sitting or lingering in the waiting room, thus minimizing the number of people with whom patients come into contact, Eisen said.
When patients arrive for scheduled appointments, they call the office from their vehicle before entering. Plexiglas is installed at the reception desk. They undergo a COVID screening and hand sanitization while wearing a mask.
Patients then go immediately into a treatment room.
ARE STAFF WEARING MORE PERSONAL PROTECTIVE EQUIPMENT?
Depending on the procedure, dentists and assistants may be wearing surgical gowns and caps with an N-95 mask overlayed by a surgical mask, goggles, face shield and gloves. Patients are to wear a mask in the building when not undergoing dentistry.
HOW HAS DENTAL HYGIENE CHANGED?
Hygienists are going old school in that cleanings are being done with hand tools for scaling, which means appointments are longer. No water jets or polishing is allowed at this time, as it is aerosol generating, said Eisen. HEPA filtration is available in the rooms and hygienists are also wearing more PPE than prior to COVID.
HOW LONG HAVE DENTISTS BEEN BACK TO WORK?
Only two of Eisen’s six dental offices were open for limited hours in June so that they could pool PPE and do emergency work such as tooth extraction and managing infection.
Dental hygiene is the most recent addition to dental offices.
“(Now) it’s business as usual as far as the work we are able to do.”