Dental Implants & Safety Protocols During the COVID-19 Pandemic
There are many reasons why tooth loss can occur. Sometimes it’s the result of a sudden impact or accident that causes the loss of one or more teeth. Other times, it can be due to factors such as tooth decay, gum disease, or other medical conditions that can have adverse effects on the strength and health of the mouth and jaw.
Whatever the reasons may be, the loss of teeth has a dramatic impact on many aspects of life, including eating & speaking, loss of self-confidence, and more. In addition, the long-term effects of tooth loss can lead to more serious dental health problems. While you would correctly assume that dealing with a lost tooth or several lost teeth should be done as soon as possible, there may be some apprehension about having these types of procedures done during the current state of the COVID-19 public health crisis.
This is certainly understandable given the seriousness of the coronavirus and how it’s critical that we do everything in our power to prevent its spread. That’s why the team at Georgian Dental wants to reassure you that we have taken every precaution, implemented new safety measures, and equipped our clinics with the finest in personal protective equipment and environmental controls to create a safe and secure space for all types of restorative dental implant procedures.
Here’ we’re going to inform you on what to expect with a dental implant procedure during the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as explain the purpose of several key pieces of protective equipment that we have put in place to provide a safe experience for both patients and staff. First however, let’s quickly explain why it’s so critical to deal with lost teeth as quickly and efficiently as possible.
Why You Shouldn’t Wait to Get Dental Implants
Aside from the obvious impact on the appearance of your smile, lost teeth have many other negative effects on your life. Missing one or more teeth from your jaw can make it more difficult to eat and drink the foods you enjoy, possibly leading to a decline in the quality of your diet and overall nutrition. Lost teeth can also hinder your speech and pronunciation to varying degrees, especially the teeth near the front of the mouth.
Another long-term effect of lost teeth is a gradual decline in bone density in the affected area. If left unchecked, this gradual bone density loss can even result in the loss of other teeth in the adjacent areas of the jaw. Naturally, preventing these types of problems and regaining full mouth function are the overall objectives of undergoing a dental implant procedure.
To recap, the longer you wait to address missing teeth, the higher your risk of developing additional complications as a result. Therefore it’s very important to proceed with your dentist’s recommended course of action to replace the missing teeth as quickly as possible. If you’ve been putting off dealing with lost teeth due to concerns over COVID-19, let’s now look at how our clinics in Barrie and Orillia have been updated to provide even greater safety and protection for patients than ever before.
How has the Georgian Dental clinic changed?
The Georgian Dental clinic experience has changed in many ways, but these differences can generally be grouped into two categories. First, we’ve installed a diverse array of new protective equipment throughout the clinic, as well as provided enhanced personal protective equipment to all our staff. Second, we’ve instituted a strict set of safety protocols and procedures to be followed by all staff and patients inside the clinic.
You’ll notice from the moment you enter the clinic that hand sanitizer and plexiglass barriers are in place throughout common spaces, and all team members are equipped with facemasks and/or face shields. Face masks are also required for all patients present in the waiting room, but can be removed when instructed to by your dentist. Surfaces throughout the clinic including door handles, chairs, and even the debit machine are cleaned and sterilized after each use.
Installed throughout the clinic are advanced HEPA filtration systems to continually clean and filter the air, and clear plastic room dividers to isolate each treatment area. When necessary, we also utilize repositionable ‘vapor vac’ units to contain and extract any airborne particles produced during certain dental treatments. All instruments are cataloged, tracked, and sanitized after each use in a specialized autoclave sanitization unit. Furthermore, we ensure the entire clinic undergoes a total ozone sanitization process every night to eliminate contamination from all surfaces.
In addition to the new equipment and clinic sanitization practices, we also conduct daily screenings of all staff members, including symptom review and temperature checking, before they begin work each day. Screenings are also performed on all patients prior to their appointments and upon arrival to verify that no symptoms of COVID-19 are present, and no contact with COVID-19 infected persons has occurred.
For a complete list of all COVID-19 safety measures that are in place at Georgian Dental clinics, please refer to our guide to COVID-19 dental patient safety.
So, with all these new safety measures and protective protocols in place, what can you expect when you are scheduled for a dental implant procedure?
Before Your Dental Implant Procedure
Prior to your tooth replacement treatment, you’ll undergo a complete consultation and dental health review with your dentist. This takes place in our clinic and will follow all the standard protocols for dental checkups and patient visits during COVID-19, including symptom screening, with all the necessary personal protective equipment (PPE) worn by all patients and staff.
During this consultation, you will be informed on how the implant procedure will be done. You’ll learn what preparation steps you can take prior to your appointment, as well as what each aspect of the implant procedure will include, such as the length of the procedure, healing and recovery timelines, and what the final results of your tooth replacement will be like. Whether you are replacing a single lost tooth or are undergoing a complete mouth restoration with All-On-4 implant-supported dentures, you will be fully informed on what to expect.
During Your Dental Implant Procedure
Once you arrive for your implant procedure, you will undergo a COVID-19 symptom screening before moving to your treatment room to meet with your dentist. The room itself will be sealed and isolated from the other clinic spaces to prevent air movement between areas, and in-room HEPA filtration will be operating continually. You will notice that your dentist will be fully equipped with all the required PPE, including a P100 respirator, which offers a level of protection superior to even N95 masks.
Aside from the additional safety equipment, protective protocols, and PPE gear, the majority of your dental implant procedure will occur as it would have even prior to the COVID-19 pandemic. The area of lost teeth will be prepared to receive the new implants, the new implants will be installed, and your recovery will begin. We encourage you to refer to our other articles on what’s involved in a dental implant procedure or an All-on-4 mouth restoration to get a more detailed breakdown of each type of treatment.
After Your Dental Implant Procedure
Once your implants have been installed and your recovery is underway, your dentist will keep in contact to ensure the healing is proceeding normally. Phone consultations and in-clinic checkups are scheduled according to your unique needs and will ensure that all recovery proceeds according to plan. In the event that any follow-up procedures are necessary, you will be instructed on the details of these follow-ups as they arise.
Once you are fully recovered, you will be able to enjoy the full function of your mouth again, as well as the beautiful new smile you’ll see every time you look in the mirror. When you receive dental implants from Georgian Dental, we’re confident that you’ll love the results you get!
Don’t Delay in Getting the Dental Implant Treatments You Need
We have always endeavoured to provide the safest environment for your dental care, and this approach has naturally made it easy for us to adapt to the evolving demands of COVID-19. Your safety and protection is our number one priority, and you’ll see this mindset reflected in everything we do to provide the best in restorative dental implants to you.
If you’ve experienced a lost tooth or lost teeth for any reason, contact the team at Georgian Dental today. We will be glad to speak with you and arrange a consultation so you can get started down the road to a beautiful smile and fully restored mouth function.