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Chicago Dental Society launches campaign to promote the safety of dental offices

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Patient safety and wellbeing remains a top priority in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. (Photo: Chicago Dental Society)

Wed. 22. July 2020

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CHICAGO, Ill., USA: The Chicago Dental Society (CDS) has launched a new public awareness campaign called #SAFESMILES to reinforce public confidence in the safety of dental practices and emphasize the importance of maintaining good oral health.

The organization wants the public to know that dentists are extremely experienced and well equipped to prevent the spread of disease, and are implementing additional safety measures to protect patients and staff in the era of COVID-19.

“It is more important than ever to take care of your health and, as dentists, we know that good oral health is essential to your overall health,” said CDS President Dr. Terri Tiersky. “As patients return to the dental office, they may notice that things look different than the last time they were there, and that’s a good thing. These enhanced safety measures and modifications have been made with their health, safety and comfort in mind.”

Some of the changes patients can expect to see are the removal of magazines, toys, remotes and other communal items in the waiting room; increased cleaning protocols in treatment rooms between patients; adjusted waiting room layouts to accommodate social distancing; increased personal protective equipment; and health screenings prior to their appointment and when they arrive on-site. CDS member dentists are also closely following current clinical guidance from federal, state and local authorities, including OSHA, ADA and CDC, to make any necessary adjustments in light of COVID-19.

A recent poll from the American Dental Association (ADA) indicates that dental offices have made a big comeback after the shutdown, with 97 percent of dental offices open for elective care as of June 15, an increase from only 3 percent in early April. While total patient volume was down more than 90 percent at that time, it has since rebounded, with nearly 50 percent of dentists surveyed reporting that they are back to 75 percent or more of what a typical week in their practice looks like.

While patient concerns about safety are understandable, delaying necessary or routine dental care can pose an even greater risk to patients’ overall health, the CDS says. Research has proven that there is a direct connection between oral health and whole-body health and that poor oral health is associated with other chronic diseases and medical conditions including oral cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease, osteoporosis and more.

CDS member dentists want to stress to the public what they already know well: That dental offices are safe, and dentists and staff are highly experienced infection control experts who are skillfully navigating enhanced infection control protocols during the pandemic.

Learn more about the #SAFESMILES campaign and how dentists are keeping their offices safe by visiting cds.org/safety.

(Source: Chicago Dental Society)

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