With everyone wearing masks, shields and gowns, the waiting room closed and magazines nowhere in sight, your next trip to the dentist might be a little jarring.
Although many businesses have been hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic, dentists have faced some of the biggest challenges because numerous procedures routinely use instruments that can create droplets and aerosols, posing potential risks of transmission.
We spoke with Dr. Mandeep “Mona” Sidhu of Smile Line Dentistry in Antioch and Livermore about the challenges she and other dentists have faced in trying to make their offices and practices virus-free and assuring leery patients it’s safe to return.
Q. How has the dentistry business been affected by COVID-19?
A. “We were closed for two and a half months, starting on March 16, the day the shelter-in-place order came from the county and then we reopened on June 1 when the dental board cleared dental offices for regular patients. During the closure, we were seeing emergency cases only. Like once a week we’d go in and see two or three patients who were in pain; no treatment was being done to not have aerosols. It was whatever could be done without a handpiece or ultrasonic devices. There were no fillings, no treatment per se, or crowns — only for symptom relief. If something broke, we would put a flowable liquid cover on it just to cover it so the sharp edges were not sharp any more and the area was not exposed, or put a temporary filling