Open Wide: Dental Offices Adapt To Coronavirus

Most dentist offices, shut down early on in the pandemic, are reopening with new procedures in place to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. NBC's Sarah Dallof reports.

(NBC News) — Dental offices across the country are back open, but it’s far from business as usual.

Temperature checks, face shields and new sanitizing measures are just some of the changes put in place to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.

“We’re working with one of the dirtiest orifices in the body, if not the dirtiest,” notes Dr. Phil Cai.

According to the American Dental Association about 97 percent of dental practices nationwide are back open in some capacity.

The association has released new recommendations advising patient be prescreened, additional protective gear for patients and staff and when possible the use of hand tools that don’t generate aerosol spray.

They’re encouraging patients to return, saying those who delay procedures, or even cleanings where many issues are first detected, could face greater problems later.

“In some instances, having an infection in your mouth can actually up your risks of developing serious illnesses like diabetes, or even a brain infection that can lead to death,” explains Dr. Sally Crm. “So not something you want to mess around with.”

Dentists also say routine brushing and flossing at home is more important than ever, especially if a second wave forces the closure of practices once again.

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