Since the outbreak of COVID-19, dental offices across the country have been closed for all non-emergency appointments. As they slowly prepare to resume normal service, dental professionals need to rethink how they approach their work in order to minimize the risk of spreading COVID-19.
Dental assistants play an important role in dental offices, public health centres, and other clinics. They ensure that everything runs smoothly and work closely with other dental professionals and patients. Read on to find out how you could help dental offices to run safely and securely in light of COVID-19.
Screen Patients Before They Enter the Dental Office
The first step to preventing the spread of COVID-19 in the dental office is ensuring that infected persons don’t enter. Whilst it’s impossible to do this with complete certainty, there are steps that you can take to reduce the likelihood of this happening.
After you graduate from dental assistant college, you may be responsible for screening patients when they make an appointment and before they enter the dental office. This might involve finding out whether they have travelled outside Canada recently, or been in contact with someone who has. You may also need to ask if they have experienced any symptoms of infection, such as a fever, a cough, or breathing difficulties.
If they answer yes to any of these questions, you might have to postpone the appointment or offer a virtual appointment. In addition, you may need to check patients’ temperatures before they enter the dental office, and prevent anyone with a high temperature from entering.
Wear a Mask – and Provide Them for Clients
In order to stop the spread of COVID-19, you should ensure that all dental staff and patients are wearing some form of personal protective equipment (PPE). According to the Canadian Government, the virus can be spread in three ways:
- Respiratory droplets when you cough or sneeze
- Close personal contact such as touching or shaking hands
- Touching something with the virus on it, then touching your face
Wearing an N95 respirator or a surgical mask will stop the spread of the virus through respiratory droplets. It acts as a physical barrier, and also stops patients from spreading it through touching fingers and hands to their mouth. As well as this, additional PPE like gloves can help to stop the spread through contact.
Separate Patients in the Waiting Area and Common Spaces after Dental Assistant College
In dental assistant training, you will learn that one of your main responsibilities as a dental assistant will include welcoming patients and scheduling appointments. In order to stop the spread of COVID-19 in dental offices, you should ensure that patients are two metres apart while in the waiting room and other common areas.
In order to do this with ease, you may need to reduce the number of appointments that are made and avoid any overlapping appointments. In addition, you should tell patients to come alone if possible, to limit the number of visitors.
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