Covid-19 Dental Questions
My name is David Frank and I am a dentist and owner of Walden Dental in northwest Austin in Cedar Park.
Q: With the current discussion around states reopening, what should people know about seeing their dentist?
Dr. Frank: As states like Texas are beginning to reopen, there’s a lot of questions and concerns about whether or not its appropriate to see your dentist. And with the rollout we need to be very cautious and pragmatic about how we are seeing our patients and making sure that we are staying to the most up to date centers of disease control, or “CDC”, guidelines. Such things as using face shields using N95 or other level 3 type masks, being very cautious about aerosols using portable aerosol suction devices are going to be the new norm. Patients are going to be looking for expectations on making sure that an office is safe and clean and dentistry needs to follow suit and I see no problem and no trouble why Texas dentists can’t hit that mark and really be able to set the standard for other states to soon follow suit.
Q: Do you think that by reopening, the curve will continue to flatten, or should we expect another round of infections across the population?
Dr. Frank: There’s ample reason and concern about whether or not the curve is truly coming down with COVID-19. And as a dentist we have to be very cautious still about how we are rolling back to normal routine care. A unique feature in dentistry is that we are obligated to take blood pressure and other vital screenings for every patient during their dental visits regardless of what the appointment is for. The reason for that is that we often know folks are more likely to come to their dental appointment than they would for a medical appointment. An interesting feature of that is could we somehow, as dentists, also help participate with being able to screen patients being able to conduct certain entry level tests to identify what other folks, who are asymptomatic, could be carrying to help our national figures get even more under control and help our nation do everything it can to not bring another resurgent back in August or September as some predict.
Q: As a health care provider, what is your biggest concern about the COVID-19 virus?
Dr. Frank: Dentistry is all about prevention and it’s really important that we stress as soon as safely possible we get back to that routine care so that we don’t have to continue to worry about, “Are there other forms of dental infections, that, also could be asymptomatic, brewing to really damping and really kind of hamper our patients to have appropriate and timely care.