Dental visits may start to resemble hospital visits

Routine dental care may never be the same, and visits to the dentist are more likely to resemble hospital visits due to screening and safety precautions, Alec Parker, DMD, executive director of the North Carolina Dental Society, told the Charlotte Observer.

Dentists will have to schedule fewer patients each day to practice new safety and social distancing measures, Dr. Parker said. He believes the changes are likely to favor large, multi-dentist practices, if simply for their buying power for supplies.

Haydn Jones, DDS, a dentist based in Charlotte, N.C., has already started implementing changes. Dr. Jones has gone back to hand-scaling, eliminating the ultrasonic method of teeth-cleaning. His practice checks patient temperature, and patients must wear masks inside. The dentist is also changing filtration systems so each procedure room will receive a fresh air supply every 20 minutes.

Some dentists anticipate lower patient income, though that hasn't necessarily proved true everywhere.

"Now we're so busy you can't get in," said Chris Martin, DDS, one of nine dentists at Raleigh, N.C.-based Village Dentistry. "We're slammed."

More articles on dental:
'It's been nonstop': Wisconsin dental practice booked after reopening
Dentist joins DSO amid pandemic
24/7 national hotline for dental emergencies aims to keep patients out of ER

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