In the long list of routines disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic, many Iowans may have missed preventive dental exams, ignored a nagging toothache or even forgot to brush their teeth a few times during the long days of quarantine. Iowa dentists have been gearing up to welcome patients back per Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds' May 8 proclamation, but visits will look a little different now. Delta Dental of Iowa is here to support our members and the dental community as we navigate our post-COVID-19 life.

"Maintaining regular routines and exams is critical for good oral and overall health, but it's important to know that your next dental visit will look a little different to keep everyone safe," said Dr. Jeffrey Chaffin, chief dental officer for Delta Dental of Iowa. "However, the goal of the appointments are the same: to examine your teeth, gums, tongue and throat for any signs of disease and track any issues you might have to avoid problems in the future. The good news is that infection control procedures are part of the normal course of dental business, the new processes simply make it safer."

Here are a few tips as you return to the dentist:
* Your exam. Be sure to ask your dentist any questions that you may have about your oral health. The dentist will provide a thorough exam but they will likely limit some procedures.
* Schedule your visit soon. Dentists may have a bit of a backlog; so call to set up your next appointment, especially if you missed an appointment in the last few months.
* Pre-appointment. You may be asked more COVID-19 screening questions before your appointment and again on the day of your appointment. Upon arrival, you may have your temperature taken and you may be asked to wear a mask.
* Checking in. Some dental offices may have you wait in your car instead of their lobby. You may be asked to attend your appointment alone if possible to reduce the number of people in the dental office.
* Personal protective equipment (PPE). Dental staff, including the office staff, will be wearing PPE like face shields, gloves, masks, gowns and head coverings. There may be extra glass dividers in the office.

Don't delay in scheduling your next dental appointment. It's important to stay on top of your dental health so minor issues don't become an emergency. And don't forget to maintain your regular daily hygiene, even if your daily schedule is still disrupted.

For more information on maintaining a healthy smile and what to expect at your next appointment, visit Delta Dental of Iowa's blog, A Healthy Life.


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