Is it dangerous to go to the dentist during the COVID-19 crisis?
Thomas Rietrae is a practising dentist and the owner of Lassus Tandartsen, an international, English-speaking dental clinic in Amsterdam with a focus on quality service and care.
As soon as the coronavirus established itself in the Netherlands, all forms of contact professions were immediately prohibited, due to it not being possible to keep a distance of 1.5 meters. This meant many jobs that required close, personal contact, like hairdressers, beauty therapists and, yes, even dentists, were shut down in response to the pandemic.
Is it safe to visit the dentist?
Dental practices in the Netherlands re-opened a lot earlier than other contact professions, as they were allowed to welcome clients who did not exhibit any symptoms of the coronavirus. This means that it is possible to visit the dentist not only for urgent dental care but also for regular dental care.
It is perfectly understandable for you to assume that visiting the dentist could be dangerous, however, it is perfectly safe to visit your dentist. There are several reasons for this, which will be explained in this article.
Going back to a normal level of activity is very important, especially for your dental health. As you can imagine, the dentistry world is a very intimate one. A dentist is in close contact with their clients during an appointment. However, it’s important to understand that even before the current crisis, dentists already adhered to the strictest safety procedures. Most people do not know that.
Highest level of hygiene standards
The cross-infection protocols in the Netherlands were always amongst the strictest in Europe. Everything is done to protect the client and the staff. Equipment is sterilised in cleaning machines that are also used in hospitals to clean surgical tools.
For the safety of the clients and the employees, the dental clinics are now applying new measures in addition to the regular guidelines of CIC (Cross Infection Control). Reminders are sent prior to the visit of every client. The client will also receive a letter with questions about general health. As a client, you have to satisfy the dentist that you are healthy and well.
During your appointment, your dentist will adhere to the 1.5-meter distance properly and avoiding physical contact such as handshakes. In addition, punctuality is important, but clients should not arrive too early. Clients are currently being asked to arrive one minute before the appointment in order to try and minimise the number of clients waiting in the reception room.
Waiting areas should be rearranged so clients can maintain social distancing. If possible, it is also important to arrive alone to the practice, with the exception of parents of children up to the age of 12 and (interpreter) supervisors.
After cleaning your hands with the disinfectant gel, you will be prohibited from touching your phone, keys or anything else which might cause contamination. It is not possible to brush your teeth within the practice either. Furthermore, dentists will now wear full masks with face shields and wear colour coded gloves depending on the activity they are undertaking.
What if you are infected with the coronavirus or at risk?
If you are already infected with the coronavirus and you are in need of dental care, you will receive a referral from the dentist to visit the CAM (Corona Centre for Acute Dental Care).
For the moment, dentists prefer not to accept clients over the age of 65. This is for their own safety because they are a risk category. Should they require urgent dental care, a special department for that exists in the hospital.
Returning to the dentist
While the coronavirus is still around us, there is a continued return to normality in the sector as a whole. It is very important to stay calm and maintain your overall well-being and your dental care is a very significant part of that too!
For safe, top quality, expat-orientated dental care visit Lassus Tandartsen.
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