COVID-19 has changed almost every aspect of our lives, including routine appointments with your orthodontist. Here, we will discuss the rules and regulations regarding seeing your North York orthodontist during these times.
Staying Safe While Preserving Oral Health
Many patients wonder if it’s safe to visit their orthodontist while COVID-19 is still with us. In late spring/early summer 2020, many restrictions were lifted in provinces across Canada and patients could see their orthodontist again. But you may notice your orthodontist’s office looks very different, and there are protocols to follow to keep staff and patients safe.
Attending orthodontic appointments is very important to your oral health as your progress through your treatment. However, there are also some health questions and cancers that may arise just in the act of coming in for your appointment. Since the pandemic is still ongoing, extra precautions will be needed to help ensure everyone stays safe.
New Rules & Regulations Under COVID-19
In order for your orthodontist's office to remain open throughout the pandemic, safety rules and updates decided on by provincial regulating bodies must be followed. Orthodontists need to keep to this guidance, alongside the most up-to-date information from their province's chief medical Officer of Health when providing care. These may include:
- Scheduling appointments to allow patients to physically distance. There must also be time for treatment areas to be disinfected between each appointment. Keep in mind that everyone is now on a time crunch, and that may mean you need to book an appointment further ahead or that there will be less flexibility in your orthodontist’s daily schedule.
- 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.
- 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.
- Socially distanced waiting rooms. You’ll find chairs are spaced 2 metres apart. There will be no magazines, toys or other non-essential items as we try to reduce the number of touchable surfaces.
- Answering screening questions. Before your appointment, your orthodontist or their staff will ask you pre-screening questions to learn whether you have any symptoms of COVID-19. You’ll need to answer these questions again when you arrive on the day of your appointment, in addition to having your temperature taken with a touchless thermometer.
- 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.
- Rescheduling appointments for sick patients. If you have any flu-like symptoms (difficulty breathing, cough, fever), or may have been exposed to someone with COVID-19, please stay home. If you have an upcoming orthodontic appointment, please call your orthodontic office to report symptoms, reschedule or inquire about other care options.
- Attending your appointment alone. Plan to attend your appointment alone, as fewer people in the office is always better. Exceptions are made for children and people who require assistance. If the patient needs a parent or caregiver, that person will also be subject to all screening questions/measures.
- Protective gear for office staff and orthodontists. In addition to surgical face masks, your orthodontist and their staff will wear correct personal protective equipment (PPE) during in-person appointments.
- Paying via touchless payment. Plan to use your debit card or credit card to pay any balance owing on your appointment.
Do you have an orthodontic emergency? Are you wondering what you can do? Call your orthodontist and inform them about your situation.
They may be able to provide you with advice on the steps you need to take. They can let you know if they are able to handle an orthodontic emergency or if they need to direct you to another orthodontist or emergency clinic.
What is an orthodontic emergency?
Orthodontic emergencies can involve:
- Broken orthodontic appliances, or wires poking into your cheek that you can’t fix yourself temporarily.
- Experiencing an intense amount of pain that can’t be resolved by taking an over-the-counter pain medication or rinsing with salt water to reduce inflammation.
In cases such as these, call our practice as soon as you can and we will fit you into our schedule if we are able. In the meantime, ice the affected area.
If part of your orthodontic appliance has broken, make sure you find it if you can and bring it with you to your appointment.