COVID-19 has changed almost every aspect of our lives, including our orthodontist appointments. We'll go over the new rules and regulations for seeing your Montreal orthodontist during these trying times in this post.
Staying Safe While Preserving Oral Health
Many patients are concerned about visiting their orthodontist while COVID-19 is still present. Many restrictions were lifted in provinces across Canada in late spring/early summer 2020, allowing patients to see their orthodontist again. However, you may notice that your orthodontist's office is very different, and there are protocols in place to ensure the safety of both staff and patients.
While attending orthodontic appointments is key to your oral health as you progress through orthodontic treatment, there are health questions and concerns that come up just in the act of coming in for your appointment. Because the pandemic is still happening, extra precautions are needed to ensure everyone stays safe.
New Rules & Regulations Under COVID-19
All updated safety rules from provincial regulating bodies and governments must be followed in order for your orthodontist's office to remain open during the pandemic. When providing care, orthodontists must follow this guidance as well as the most up-to-date information from their province's Chief Medical Officer of Health. This includes the following:
- Scheduling appointments to allow patients to physical distance. There must also be time for treatment areas to be disinfected between each appointment. Keep in mind that everyone is now on a time crunch, and that may mean you need to book an appointment further ahead or that there will be less flexibility in your orthodontist’s daily schedule.
- Potentially waiting outside. Depending on the office, you may be asked to wait outside and call when you arrive. You’ll be notified when it’s appropriate to enter.
- Socially distanced waiting rooms. You’ll find chairs are spaced 2 metres apart. There will be no magazines, toys or other non-essential items as we try to reduce the number of touchable surfaces.
- Answering screening questions. Before your appointment, your orthodontist or their staff will ask you pre-screening questions to learn whether you have any symptoms of COVID-19. You’ll need to answer these questions again when you arrive on the day of your appointment, in addition to having your temperature taken with a touchless thermometer.
- Using hand sanitizer. When you arrive, you’ll be asked to use a 70 to 90 percent alcohol-based solution, or soap and water, upon entering or leaving the office.
- Rescheduling appointments for sick patients. If you have any flu-like symptoms (difficulty breathing, cough, fever), or may have been exposed to someone with COVID-19, please stay home. If you have an upcoming orthodontic appointment, please call your orthodontic office to report symptoms, reschedule or inquire about other care options.
- Wearing a face mask. Except for while you are being treated, you will be asked to wear a face mask or covering while in your orthodontist’s office.
- Protective gear for office staff and orthodontists. In addition to surgical face masks, your orthodontist and their staff will wear correct personal protective equipment (PPE) during in-person appointments.
- Attending your appointment alone. Plan on going to your appointment by yourself, as having fewer people in the office is always preferable. Children and people who require assistance are given special consideration. If the patient requires the assistance of a parent or caregiver, that person will be subjected to all screening questions and measures as well.
- Paying via touchless payment. Plan to use your debit card or credit card to pay any balance owing on your appointment.
Are you experiencing an orthodontic emergency and unsure what to do? Make an appointment with your orthodontist and explain your situation. They will be able to advise you on the best course of action. If you need to visit the office, they will either help you or refer you to another orthodontist or an emergency clinic.
What is an orthodontic emergency?
Orthodontic emergencies can involve:
- Broken orthodontic appliances, or wires poking into your cheek that you can’t fix yourself temporarily.
- Experiencing an intense amount of pain that can’t be resolved by taking over-the-counter pain medication or rinsing with salt water to reduce inflammation.
In these cases, please contact our office as soon as possible so that we can schedule an appointment for you. Meanwhile, apply ice to the affected area. If a piece of your orthodontic appliance has broken, look for it and bring it to your next appointment.