The pandemic has made regular life difficult, and even something as important as going to the local dentist for a regular checkup has not been exempted from that effect. This brings us to a very real and tricky question: is it really safe to go to a dentist when COVID-19 is running rampant everywhere? Even more importantly, how safe is it to get your wisdom teeth removed right now?
The Answer is Highly Variable
There isn’t a singular “yes” or “no” answer to this question, which could be taken as applicable across all dental clinics in the US. It depends on multiple factors and variables that we cannot control. Fortunately, there are also multiple other factors that we can control to keep ourselves relatively safe in any environment, including the dentist’s clinic. As to the question of whether removing a wisdom tooth right now is a good idea or not, that is a much deeper question that requires an elaborate discussion to be answered properly.
Let’s delve a bit into both topics just enough, so that you are able to determine whether a clinic would be safe to visit for any reason, or at least how to reduce your chances of catching an infection if you are left without an alternative.
Check to See if a Dental Clinic is Following the CDC and ADA Guidelines
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the American Dental Association (ADA) have set forth certain guidelines to help keep both patients and dental health workers safe from COVID-19. Check the CDC and ADA guidelines first, and later confirm whether the clinic in question is indeed following those safety precautions.
Don’t Falter on the Precautions Yourself
You may need to pay a physical visit to confirm their approach to safety precautions, so it is important that you maintain the following precautions yourself to keep that visit safe for everyone.
- Wear an N-95 respirator if you can but at the very least, wear a properly woven cloth mask.
- Bring a small, portable hand sanitizer bottle with you and sanitize your hands just before entering the clinic, as well as during and after the visit.
- If you are able to, go alone.
- If going alone is not an option, keep the number of companions to a minimum.
- Avoid crowds and do not get too close to anyone, including the staff.
Wisdom Teeth Removal: is It a Safe Option Now?
Removing wisdom teeth may or may not be your only option, irrespective of the pandemic. Multiple possible complications can occur, and your dentist might not always be upfront about such dangers. Consult more than one dentist, do your own research, and go through the options, before deciding for or against wisdom teeth removal. In terms of covid-safety alone, as long as the dental clinic is following all CDC and ADA guidelines, removing your wisdom teeth should not cause you to get COVID-19.
Remember never to go to the dental clinic with a temperature because it’s not just about COVID-19, but also about how other viral infections can make you more susceptible to infections by weakening the immune system. Also, the fever will not allow your dentist to perform any procedures if you do decide to get that wisdom teeth removed.