Monthly Archives: March 2019

Seeing the Dentist When You’re Sick

dental visit when sick

Should I Keep My Dentist Appointment If I’m 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.

Understanding Standard Dental Office Hygiene Procedures

dental office hygiene

Fear of the dentist is incredibly common, even though modern dentistry is nearly pain free. For many people, though, the fear isn’t necessarily of pain, but of the sights, sounds, and smells of a dental office. Others worry about germs. Whichever fear you have, understanding the hygiene procedures that dental offices follow can help. Here is what you should know.


General Precautions

Modern dental offices are clean and well-kept, with sweeping, mopping, and vacuuming taking place frequently. But because it is a medical facility, your dental office goes far beyond these basic cleaning procedures.

Dentists, dental technicians, and hygienists wear gloves whenever they come into contact with a patient’s mouth. This protects them from germs the patient may be carrying, but it also protects you against any germs that might be on their hands. Depending on the procedure you are having, they may also wear disposable face masks and gowns. Just like any other medical professional, this protects them from saliva and blood that could splash around, and it protects you from having your dental professional sneeze or cough in your face.

Spray disinfectants are used liberally, both in the waiting room and in the treatment rooms. This helps to guard against common colds and other easily transmitted illnesses.

Reusable dental tools are required by law to undergo an extensive sterilization process between patients. Increasingly, many dentists are using disposable tools instead. That way, they simply have to open a new pack for each patient. If you ever see someone at your dental office using a package of tools that is already open, ask for an explanation.


Protective Eyewear for Patients

Some dentists now provide protective eyewear for their patients, although this is not yet standard. There are a few reasons for this. One is to protect you from the glare of the light, which must be very bright to properly illuminate the back of your mouth.

In addition, dental tools contacting your teeth and gums can cause fluids to splash. Protective eyewear prevents those fluids from getting into your eyes. Likewise, since your dentist or hygienist is always above you, it is smart to protect your eyes from an errant cough or sneeze, especially if the dental professional is not wearing a mask.

Finally, dental tools tend to be sharp and/or heavy. If one is dropped, protective eyewear can ensure that you do not end up with eye damage.


Protective Eyewear for Dental Workers

Likewise, many dental offices now have employees wear protective eyewear or face shields when treating patients. This protects their eyes from your coughs or sneezes, as well as from being splashed with your blood or saliva.


Dental Dams

Many patients find dental dams uncomfortable, but they are very important. Made from thin latex, the dental dam separates the area that is being worked on from the rest of your mouth. This provides the dentist, tech, or hygienist with a clear view of the working area. It also helps to reduce the amount of fluid exchange with the rest of your mouth, making it easier to contain blood and tooth fragments and to clean you up when your procedure is finished.


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.