Dentist's add new strict safety procedures during COVID-19 pandemic

Posted at 6:24 AM, May 15, 2020

PALM HARBOR, Fla. — Dentist appointments are looking much different these days, with several new, strict safety procedures in place.

At Dr. Maggie Davis & Associates Pediatric Dentists in Palm Harbor, she’s making patients answer questions before their appointment.

“All of that screening is occurring outside our office in the parking lot. So we have designated parking spots with signs on them instructing the patient to wait in their car,” said Pediatric Dentist Dr. Maggie Davis.

Most offices are screening people for COVID-19 symptoms like fever, cough and shortness of breath. They’re also making sure family members are symptom-free, too.

Several dentists are providing temperature checks before patients enter the building and require people to use hand sanitizer.

Many offices no longer have waiting rooms and are having people wait in their cars.

Davis has removed many things from her office to reduce high touch areas like toys and magazines.

Most paperwork is being done electronically as well.

Some dentists will require wearing face masks before and after the exam.

But for many, infection control has always been their number one priority.

“This is something that isn’t new to us as far as the spread of infectious disease. We’ve gone through this with the HIV crisis and even just the exposure of tuberculosis. And so we have always use hospital-grade disinfectants in our office, so there’s been no change to that,” said Davis.

Dentists say they’ve been trained for this.

“A little extra hand washing for our patients coming in and out of the office, but this is something that we’ve always been trained to do, so we feel very comfortable in the measures that we’ve taken to ensure their safety,” said Davis.

They’re always sterilizing instruments with high heat and high pressure as usual.

Davis says she’s worked hard to get PPE for all of her staff.

“We are wearing N95 and KN95 masks. We are also wearing goggles with a full face shield in front of us. We are also wearing surgical scrub caps,” said Davis.

She’s also having everyone wear disposable gowns over their scrubs that they change with every patient.

“I’ve also asked my staff to change their clothes upon coming in and out of the office. So we have a washer and dryer in our facility and when we leave the clinical area, we are taking off our scrubs and putting on our street clothes, so we don’t potentially bring home this virus to our families,” said Davis.

Above all, Davis wants patients to know they’re doing everything they can to keep everyone safe.

“As dentists, we take a lot of care and concern of our patients and we have done a lot of research to make sure we are doing everything as safe as possible,” said Davis.