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Is your dentist observing COVID-19 protection guidelines? Here are some telling signs


NASHVILLE, Tenn. (Mike Osborne) -- Tennessee dentists open for business beginning Wednesday, but state health officials will not be enforcing coronavirus protection protocols.

Gov. Bill Lee banned all non-essential health services in an Executive Order beginning March 23. It came as part of the state's effort to preserve scarce medical protective gear such as masks and gowns.

Those orders have now been lifted, but Tennessee health officials have not provided dentists with best practice guidelines for protecting patients and dental staff from coronavirus. Gov. Lee has encouraged dentists to observe American Dental Association anti-virus transmisison guidelines instead, but the state will not enforce those directives.

So how can you tell if your dentist is observing the ADA restrictions? Here are some tell-tale signs based on association guidelines:

  • You are asked health screening questions before being allowed to make an appointment
  • You must come to your appointment alone
  • You will be asked to wear a mask until your proceedure begins
  • You’ll be asked screening questions again when you arrive at the office, probably in the parking lot
  • Your temperature will be taken and you will be sent home if it does not fall in the "normal" range
  • Numerous signs are posted explaining safety guidelines for patients and staff
  • Staff members will be wearing extra protective gear, likely to include gloves, masks, gowns and face shields
  • The waiting room should be empty and you may be the only patient in the building.
  • All shared items, such as books, magazines and chained sign-in pens have been removed from the waiting room
  • The dentist and staff are sanitizing continuously
  • The dentist and staff don new protective gear each time they enter the treatment room

You can review the complete ADA guidance for dentists here.




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