Seeing the Dentist When You’re Sick

dental visit when sick
Getting a dental appointment can take some time, and regular visits are vital to preserving oral health. Therefore, many people hate to cancel an appointment. But what if you’re sick? Is it better to keep the appointment or to reschedule it? Here is what you should know.


Cancellation Policies

It should go without saying that you should never cancel a dental appointment without a good reason. Your dentist and staff members have carved out time to see you, and they may not be able to cover your missed appointment with another patient, especially if you cancel at the last minute.

To make up for the potential loss of revenue, many dental practices charge a cancellation fee. If you are sick, and you don’t have a history of missing appointments, you may be able to get this fee waived, but this is never guaranteed. Call as soon as you know you need to reschedule, as some offices only charge for cancellations within a certain time frame, such as the day of the appointment.


How Sick Are You?

Whether or not to go to your appointment depends largely on how sick you are. For example, a headache is a common condition that could make you think about cancelling. However, not all headaches are the same. If you have a reasonably high pain tolerance and a simple headache, you might prefer to suffer through. If you have a severe migraine, though, the sights and sounds of a dental office could be too much to bear. Only you know how sick you are, and what your personal tolerance level is.


Are You Contagious?

If you have a contagious illness, you might want to think twice about keeping your appointment. Your dentist and hygienist will be up close and personal with your mouth, so it isn’t fair to cough and sneeze all over them. Even if you are no longer coughing or sneezing, you could still be contagious for a full week after your symptoms first developed.

If you suspect that you are contagious, call the dentist’s office and ask about the policy for these situations. You might be rescheduled, or you might receive advice on how to cope with the illness during your appointment.


Are You Having an Invasive Procedure?

Oral surgery and other invasive procedures are typically more complicated to schedule than simple cleanings, as they take longer and require extra materials. It is best to keep your appointment if possible.

On the other hand, an existing illness weakens your immune system, increasing the risk of infection and potentially lengthening healing time. If you have a fever or other signs of a bacterial or viral illness, it may be best to reschedule your procedure. Call your dentist as soon as possible for advice.


What Should You Do If You Keep Your Appointment?

When checking in, let the office staff know what symptoms you are experiencing. Wash or sanitize your hands before and after filling out any paperwork. Cough or sneeze into the crook of your elbow rather than your hands. Avoid direct contact with other patients and staff members.

In the treatment room, let each professional you interact with know that you are sick so that they can take precautions to avoid catching your illness. If you have congestion, breathing through your nose can be difficult. Let your treatment team know that you may need to take breaks to catch your breath.

Being sick is never fun, and visiting the dentist with an illness can magnify your misery. Take a hard look at your symptoms and the likelihood that you are contagious, and make an informed decision on whether to reschedule. Never hesitate to reach out to your dentist’s office for advice. If you do keep the appointment, take steps to avoid sharing your germs with others.


Want to Learn More?

If you want to learn more about how we can keep your entire family’s smiles in tip top shape, contact Savannah Dental Solutions today at (912) 354-1366 for more information or to schedule an appointment.

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