It is now October 2021. Who would have thought that we would be still be talking about COVID? In my March 2020 post I recall mentioning "this will be remembered as the year of COVID19". I had no idea how true that would be. It has since morphed into the year (2021) of the Delta variant of COVID19. Yikes.
I am blogging today because I worry, as do my dental hygiene colleagues, about your oral preventive care. The question is: Are you afraid to get your teeth cleaned? Are you waiting to schedule your cleaning appointment until the pandemic is over? Read on and rest assured your oral health is important and we are here for you.
When the COVID pandemic first occurred, dental office personnel became fearful that the aerosol produced during the practice of dentistry would be a super spreader of the virus. To their credit, dentists, dental hygienists, and the staff members have done such an admirable job of reducing and controlling aerosols.
To back track a bit, just to refresh our memories. Webster defines an aerosol as a very fine solid or liquid dispensed in gas that is emitted from a container. These very small particles are so small they often linger in the air for a long period of time - minutes to hours - versus the seconds droplets linger in the air. Think of the mist from a perfume spray as compared to droplet or sprinkle of water. This is a very basic comparison. A deep dive could fill a book.
In the context of a dental office, aerosols that could possibly contain bacteria and other pathogens come mainly from:
We have long protected ourselves, as clinicians, from these aerosols with the use of face masks, goggles, and clinical gowns. Since the entrance of the COVID pandemic, dental practice quickly adapted to protect the patient, as well. Not from us, as the dental office personnel should have been protected already, but from the patient who was in the treatment room before you. As I noted earlier, we know aerosols can hang in the air for minutes to hours after they enter the air.
All that stated, the basic precautions you, the patient, could take would be to schedule your appointment:
If you at all have a disability, disease, or condition that would make you at extreme risk or overly concerned, please contact an RDHAP or direct access dental hygienist. In California, an RDHAP can provide your dental hygiene care in the comfort of your home or bedside until you feel safe returning to the dental practice.
Disclaimer The opinions expressed in this blog are those of the authors. Guest authors are responsible for the material in their posts. The material shared is for informational purposes only and not intended as medical or dental advice. The accuracy of information in these posts are not guaranteed. RDHAP Connect is not responsible for the actions of products or advertisers linked to posts.
Elena Francisco, RDHAP, MS has been practicing dental hygiene for over 40 years and has been an RDHAP since 2005.
Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this blog are those of the authors. Guest authors are responsible for the material in their posts. The material shared is for informational purposes only and not intended as medical or dental advice. The accuracy of information in these posts are not guaranteed. RDHAP Connect is not responsible for the actions of products or advertisers linked to posts.