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Why Does Your Dentist Wear a Face Mask & Shield?

May 21, 2020

Filed under: Uncategorized — drboyles @ 2:08 pm
dentist in a face mask and shield putting on gloves

If you need to visit your dentist during the COVID-19 crisis, don’t be surprised to see them decked out in head-to-toe PPE. Many patients aren’t aware that facial masks and shields are an absolute necessity for dental staff because they work so close to the mouth. Even before COVID-19, these helped keep them safe from a variety of illnesses. Read on to learn more about why your dentist wears facial coverings and how it’s also beneficial for patients.

Putting On & Changing Facial PPE

In response to COVID-19, your dentist and their staff will always be wearing some type of facial covering in accordance to the CDC’s recommendation. When you’re taken back to the treatment room, you may also notice that they’re wearing a face shield and eye safety. This is in an effort to make sure that no bodily fluids that will come from your mouth, such as blood and saliva, will touch their face or skin. Between appointments or if their masks get wet, your dentist will change and sanitize them in an effort to keep each patients’ appointment sterile.

The Transmission of COVID-19

According to the CDC, COVID-19 is primarily spread via droplet exposure. This means that when an infected person cough, sneezes, or even speaks without a mask on, they’ll be transferring infected droplets of saliva onto nearby surfaces and people. When these are passed on to a non-infected person’s mucous membrane (eyes, nose, or mouth), it will cause them to also contract the virus. For dentists, this is an especially important finding, since they’re working inside of people’s mouths and can easily come into contact with blood and saliva of a patient while cleaning or polishing their teeth.

Harmful Aerosols for Dentists

Another worry for dentists is harmful aerosols that can be created when using certain dental tools such as polishers. The face mask and facial shield helps filter these out so they don’t breathe them in. In addition to facial PPE, they also use advanced chairside suction to minimize the plume of aerosols and keep them from being able to disperse throughout the treatment room and onto surfaces in the area.

Other COVID-19 Dental Precautions Being Taken

In addition to facial PPE, your dentist has implemented a variety of other safety protocols to protect their staff and patients from the threat of the virus. Some of these include sequenced patient scheduling, CDC-approved sterilization methods, and making your car into a virtual waiting area to limit traffic through the practice.

If you have any concerns or would like to learn more about what steps your dentist is taking to keep you safe and healthy, don’t hesitate to contact them directly. That way, you can get the high-quality dental care you deserve without having to worry about taking a gamble on your health.

About the Author

Dr. Franklin Boyles has over four decades of experience as a dentist. He is passionate about helping his patients preserve their smiles by providing high-quality and thorough dental care. He has implemented several new safety protocols in response to COVID-19 to ensure his patients’ safety and health. For questions or to schedule an appointment, visit Boyles General Dentistry’s website or call 432-366-0896.

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