COVID-19 has altered nearly every aspect of our lives, including our orthodontist appointments. Today, we're going to talk about the new rules and regulations that will be in effect when you visit the orthodontists at Village Orthodontics - Niagara Falls during the covid-19 pandemic.
Keeping Safe While Maintaining Oral Health
Many patients are wondering if it is safe to visit their orthodontist while COVID-19 is still present. Many restrictions were lifted in provinces across Canada in late spring/early summer 2020, allowing patients to resume attending orthodontic appointments. However, you may notice that your orthodontist's office looks very different and that protocols are in place to keep both patients and staff safe.
While attending orthodontic appointments is important for your oral health during your orthodontic treatment, there are health questions and concerns that arise simply by showing up to your appointment. Because we are still in the grip of a pandemic, extra precautions must be taken to ensure everyone's safety.
New Rules & Regulations Under COVID-19
All updated safety rules from provincial regulating bodies and governments must be followed for your orthodontist's office to remain open during the pandemic. When providing care, orthodontists must follow this guidance as well as the most recent information from their province's Chief Medical Officer of Health. This includes the following:
- Scheduling appointments to allow patients to physical distance. there must be time between appointments for treatment areas to be disinfected. Keep in mind that everyone is now on a time crunch, which may mean you need to book an appointment further in advance or that your orthodontist's daily schedule will be less flexible.
- Potentially waiting outside. Depending on the office, you may be asked to wait outside and call when you arrive. You’ll be notified when it’s appropriate to enter.
- Socially distanced waiting rooms. The chairs are spaced 2 metres apart. As we try to reduce the number of touchable surfaces, there will be no magazines, toys, or other non-essential items.
- Answering screening questions. Before your appointment, your orthodontist or their staff will ask you pre-screening questions to determine if you have COVID-19 symptoms. When you arrive for your appointment, you'll be asked to answer these questions again, as well as have your temperature taken with a touchless thermometer.
- Using hand sanitizer. When you arrive, you’ll be asked to use a 70 to 90 percent alcohol-based solution, or soap and water, upon entering or leaving the office.
- Rescheduling appointments for sick patients. Stay at home if you have any flu-like symptoms (difficulty breathing, cough, fever), or if you have been exposed to someone with COVID-19. If you have an upcoming orthodontic appointment, please call to report symptoms, reschedule, or inquire about alternative care options.
- Wearing a face mask. Except for while you are being treated, you will be asked to wear a face mask or covering while in your orthodontist’s office.
- Protective gear for office staff and orthodontists. During in-person appointments, your orthodontist and their staff will wear appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) in addition to surgical face masks.
- Attending your appointment alone. Attend your appointment alone if possible, as fewer people in the office are always preferable. Children and those in need of assistance are given special consideration. If the patient requires the assistance of a parent or caregiver, that person will be subject to all screening questions and measures as well.
- Paying via touchless payment. Plan to use your debit card or credit card to pay any balance owing on your appointment.
If you have an orthodontic emergency and are unsure what to do, contact your orthodontist and explain your situation. They can advise you on the best course of action to take. If you need to visit the office, they will tell you whether they can help you or refer you to another orthodontist or emergency clinic.
What are Orthodontic Emergencies?
Orthodontic emergencies could include:
- Broken orthodontic appliances, or wires poking into your cheek that you can’t fix yourself temporarily.
- Feeling an intense amount of pain that can’t be resolved with over-the-counter pain medication or rinsing with salt water to reduce inflammation.
If you find yourself in either of these situations, please contact our office as soon as possible so that we can see you. In the meantime, apply ice to the affected area. If a piece of your orthodontic appliance has broken, try to locate it and bring it to your appointment.