For a little while, dentist offices nationwide were shutdown by the American Dental Association (ADA) because of COVID-19. Now, as businesses and routine office visits pick back up, your regular dentist visit will look a little different.

Dentist visits won't be the same after COVID-19.
Dentist visits won’t be the same after COVID-19. Image by Andrea Piacquadio from Pexels.

Masks at the dentist is nothing new. Nor are face shields. However, while those remain an active part of dental operations, COVID-19 has created a necessity for extra precautions. Here are some new things you can expect at your next dentist visit.

Rubber Dams Worn During Your Visit

One thing your dentist might have you do while you’re in the chair is wear a rubber dam over the bottom half of your face. This helps to isolate each tooth and minimize saliva spray, since the COVID-19 virus is often transmitted via saliva droplets.

Hydrogen Peroxide Rinse During Your Visit

Some dentists are having patients rinse their mouth with hydrogen peroxide prior to their appointment. A few studies show that rinsing with hydrogen peroxide can kill the COVID-19 virus in the mouth.

Increased Wait Times for Vists

Dentist and other medical visits are notoriously subject to potentially long wait times. This is true even more with COVID-19 running rampant. As dentist offices are taking extra sanitization precautions, it may add a few minutes onto your time spent in the waiting room.

Extra Gear Each Visit

Normally, dentists wear surgical masks, goggles, and gloves. However, at your next visit your dentist is likely to be wearing a gown, N95 mask, surgical cap, and shoe covers. Measures like these help to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Minimal Patients Per Visit

As you might expect, dentist offices are restricting the number of patients they see in a day. This also means limiting the number of people in the waiting room. Some open-concept offices have even had to rearrange their layout to comply with social distancing recommendations. Some offices have gone so far as to hang plastic drop cloths between chairs to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Grocery stores aren’t the only ones limiting guest counts and taking extra sanitary precautions because of COVID-19. It should be noted that if you’re experiencing symptoms of COVID-19, you should not go to the dentist. However, if you’re healthy and well, your next visit to the dentist may look more like something out of a science-fiction movie gone wrong. Rest assured, you’ll still be able to get your teeth taken care of; it’ll just require a few extra steps.