The COVID-19 pandemic has made it harder for some Ontarians to take care of their dental health. Your dentist would like to see you again – and your safety is their priority.
Dentists are using their training as infection prevention and control experts to help keep dental offices safe during the pandemic. That means even more safety measures than before, such as extra personal protective equipment (PPE), changes to waiting rooms, advanced screenings, and touchless thermometers.
Dental problems are easier and less expensive to treat before you can see or feel them, which is why it’s important to resume your regular appointments so that your dentist can catch any problems early. Call your dentist and find out what your options are. Because the last thing you need this year is a toothache.
Dentists are committed to keeping their offices safe and open.
Your next appointment will be a little different than what you were used to. Dentists must follow the updated safety guidance from the Royal College of Dental Surgeons of Ontario and information from the Chief Medical Officer of Health when providing care during the pandemic. Here’s what you can expect.
Appointments will be spaced out to allow physical distancing and disinfecting between patients. This might mean less flexibility when scheduling your appointment.
You will be screened for COVID-19 symptoms both before your appointment and upon arrival at the dental office. Your temperature may be taken with a touchless thermometer when you arrive for your appointment.
You will be asked to wear a mask or face covering while in the office except during treatment.
Dental staff will be wearing more PPE than normal.
Your office may ask that you come alone. There may be exceptions for small children and people who require assistance. If a parent or caregiver is allowed, they will also be subject to screening measures.
You may be asked to call when you arrive and wait outside the dentist's office until your appointment. You would be notified when you can enter.
The waiting room will not be open to everyone. Chairs will be spaced two metres (or six feet) apart. There will be no magazines, toys, or any other non-essential items in the dental office.
Patients must clean their hands with a 70- to 90-per cent alcohol-based solution or soap and water when entering and leaving the dentist's office.
Your dental office may decide to keep its bathrooms closed to patients. If the bathrooms remain open, they’ll be disinfected between patients.
Plan to pay by touchless payment, such as credit card or Interac.
PLEASE stay home if you have flu-like symptoms (fever, cough, or difficulty breathing) or have been exposed to someone with COVID-19. If you are sick and have an upcoming dental appointment, call your dental office to report symptoms, reschedule, or ask about other care options.
We thank you for helping us keep our offices safe for everyone. We’re all in this together.
Frequently Asked Questions
I think I have a dental emergency. What do I do?
Call your dentist. They will ask you for information about your situation and give you advice about the next steps. If you need to visit the office, they will let you know if they can help you or will direct you to another dentist or emergency clinic.
Is it safe to visit my dentist during the pandemic?
Yes. Dentists have always followed very strict infection prevention and control procedures. With additional COVID-19 guidance, dentists are providing you with the safest care possible. Their priority is to protect you, other patients, and their staff.
Can I ask my dentist if they or their staff have been vaccinated?
No. A person’s vaccination status is considered personal health information which is covered under the Personal Health Information Protection Act. Any health information about a staff member cannot be shared externally with anyone, including patients.
The Chief Medical Officers of Health advise all Canadians – including dentists and their teams – to continue following public health guidelines even after they have been vaccinated. Dentists should continue to follow the enhanced protocols on infection prevention and control for all patients, regardless of their vaccination status.
Can my dentist ask for or collect information about my COVID-19 vaccination status?
Your dentist can ask for your medical history and health status if it will affect your dental care and treatment. The Ministry of Health’s current screening document does not include a question concerning COVID-19 vaccination status.
What is a Dental Emergency?
A dental emergency is a potentially life-threatening condition that requires immediate treatment. This includes:
Trauma (an injury to the mouth and face)
Severe infection, such as an abscess or swelling
Bleeding that continues for a long time
Dental pain that can’t be managed by over-the-counter medications such as Tylenol or Advil
Can my dentist just prescribe medications for me over the phone?
Your dentist will decide if over-the-counter medications or prescription medications are necessary, or if you need to be seen at the office. If you need a prescription, your dentist may send it to the pharmacy directly.
How can I take care of my teeth before I can see my dentist?
Practicing good dental hygiene and following healthy lifestyle habits is more important than ever. Here are some tips:
Brush your teeth using the proper technique at least twice a day for two to three minutes each day.
Floss daily. It’s more effective than brushing alone and helps to remove food debris and bacteria from places the toothbrush can’t reach.
Eat a healthy diet, rich in calcium, phosphorus, vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin D rich in omega-3 fats.
Be mindful of stress. Regular exercise, meditation, and deep breathing can help reduce the impact of stress on your mouth and immune system.
If you’re consuming alcohol or marijuana, do so in moderation. When you drink, your mouth is exposed to increased levels of sugars and acids found in alcohol, which can be damaging to your teeth. Marijuana smoke can cause oral cancer, dry mouth, and staining, and THC can weaken your immune system.
Snack in moderation, and swish with water after eating sugary snacks to help wash away sugar and acid.
Chew sugarless gum to help stimulate saliva flow and avoid dry mouth. That salivary stimulation helps protect your teeth from decay-causing bacteria
Click here for tips to stay fresh under your mask.
How do I know if I have COVID-19?
The Ministry of Health has an online self-assessment tool to help you determine if you need to seek care.
If you are having difficulty breathing or experiencing other severe symptoms, call 911 immediately. Advise them of your symptoms and travel history.
Where can I find current, credible information about COVID-19?
The ODA recommends checking in daily with the Ontario Ministry of Health’s website for the latest updates: https://covid-19.ontario.ca.