The Nature of Dental Treatments
COVID-19 is spread via droplets, contaminated surfaces (fomites) and fecal-oral transmission. Dental procedures such as scaling and polishing generate a lot of aerosol. These are tiny airborne droplets that can potentially transmit the virus. As such, our dental clinic takes many precautions to ensure that we minimise the risk of exposure to the virus. To find out more, read What does it mean for us to be COVID-19 ready?
Precautions taken to keep everyone safe
Besides keeping unwell staff members from coming to work, we have strict criteria for allowing patients and visitors into our clinic. People who are ill, recent travellers or those who have a high-risk of exposure to COVID-19 either through direct contact with patients or indirect contact through work or household contacts will all need to wait out specific time periods depending on their risk factors and exposure history before we can treat them. We deeply regret the obvious inconvenience this may cause but we take our responsibility as stewards of team and patient safety very seriously. We do not want to put any of our team members or patients at risk of exposure to COVID-19.
For an asymptomatic carrier or patient with COVID-19, dental treatment needs to be carried out in a negative pressure treatment room and the dentist and assistant need to be dressed in PAPR (powered air-purifying respirator ) suits. These are only available in the National Dental Centre and the NUH Dental Centre. In case of dental emergencies in high-risk patients, we will be redirecting you to these institiutions. Otherwise, we need your kind patience and assistance to wait out a period of 1 – 4 weeks depending on your specific situation. We will be delighted to serve you once the period of danger is over.
Will I be exempted from health screening measures after completing my COVID-19 vaccinations?
The short answer is no, at least not at the present moment. COVID-19 vaccinations are effective in preventing COVID-19 infections, the efficacy varying from one brand of vaccine to another. This is assuming the vaccine was transported, stored and administered with strict adherence to product requirements. Current medical knowledge suggests that the vaccine may not be as effective against certain new viral strains and as such, post-vaccinated individuals exposed to new variants may still contract the disease. Each person’s ability to develop immunity in response to any vaccine is also variable. With all these factors to consider, our team will err on the side of caution and continue to practise our health screening precautions till there is good scientific evidence to guide us to do otherwise.
Your safety is our priority. And nobody is safe till everyone is safe. Let’s all do our part.