Dentists hoping for patience from their patients as offices begin to reopen

Those with high priority, emergency, or urgent need will be seen first

Ontario’s dentists are ready to get back at it, but work won’t be the same as before COVID-19.

The Ontario Dental Association wants to let everyone know what to expect when visiting the dentist again. There are some new rules in place to ensure not just the protection of patients, but dentists and their teams as well.

All patients will be asked COVID-19 screening questions before their appointment. Those who pass will receive treatment but keep in mind, those with more pressing dental care needs will be seen first.

At the time of your appointment, you’ll be expected to wait outside the office before called in. You will be prescreened for COVID a second time, asked to sanitize your hands while entering and exiting the office, and wear a mask (except during treatment, of course).

Those patients who screen positive for COVID-19 may still receive some form of treatment; the dentist will determine if emergency or urgent care is required. If not, the patient will be asked to wait until their health improves. If the need is dire, treatment will take place in a closed room with a dental team in full protective gear. The dentist will then have to wait three hours before seeing another patient.

“Dentists are happy to get back to providing care but it’s not like flipping the switch,” says Ontario Dental Association President Dr. Lesli Hapak. “Dentists have a backlog of patients and have to treat those who need immediate care first – it’s been 12 weeks since people have been able to see the dentist, and some are in greater need right now. We’re asking for everyone’s patience and understanding.”