COVID-19 Outbreak Frequently Asked Questions for Dental Care

Q. Is it safe to see the dentist right now?

A: Yes, however, on February 29, 2020, Governor Jay Inslee proclaimed that patients visit their dentist only for emergency needs to help slow the spread of COVID-19 among Washington residents and ration the use of masks and gloves. Know that Governor Inslee is working with the World Health Organization, Centers for Disease Control, American Dental Association and Washington State Dental Association.

Dr. Duffy and his team follow prescribed sanitization and cleaning procedures that keep the office clean and safe year-round. You can feel confident everything is being done to keep you safe and healthy every day.

Q. What constitutes a dental emergency?

A: A dental emergency is a situation where a person needs urgent treatment for conditions that may be worsening involving pain and/or infection, or is anticipated to cause harm sooner than three months.

Q: Prior to my emergency dental appointment, will I be screened for symptoms of COVID-19 and/or other health conditions such as influenza?

A. You can expect to be asked about any unusual symptoms you are experiencing or have had in recent weeks, including the symptoms of COVID-19: fever, cough, sore throat, shortness of breath, or loss of smell or taste. We may also ask you about recent travel, known exposures to COVID-19, attendance at large social gatherings, or visits to hospitals or senior-care facilities. Patients new to our practice should also expect to provide us with your “New Patient Information” forms, any insurance plan information.

Prior to your procedure, you will meet Dr. Duffy. He will discuss any preexisting conditions and other health concerns with you, perform a thorough oral examination and take x-rays.

It is our priority to provide you and every patient a safe environment for your care at every appointment, whether you are having an emergency or upon your return for a routine dental cleaning or other non emergency.

Q: I have a regular appointment for a cleaning or procedure. Should I reschedule?

A: Chances are that you have already received a call from Peninsula Family Dentistry to cancel your appointment—if not, please call us before coming in. Once we know when we can re-open to non-emergency patients, we will call you to reschedule. As soon as we can, we would love to get that done for you so we have the best chance of providing you the most convenient time for your schedule. In the meantime, call us if you develop emergency symptoms or have questions.

Q: Should I finish my procedure or wait until the virus runs its course?

A: If your procedure is not an emergency and Dr. Duffy thinks you can wait, it has been mandated by Governor Inslee that we reschedule your appointment. We will work with you to help you stay comfortable and healthy until you are able to complete your procedure. In the meantime, call us if you develop pain, an infection, other symptoms, or have questions.

Q: What safety equipment do you use?

A: We follow the current guidelines of the CDC, WHO and ADA. Our team uses masks, gloves and protective eyewear during your care—and offer protective eyewear for you, too. You can be confident we will also follow the latest guidelines for optimal protection and safety. 

Q: How often do you sanitize your instruments and treatment rooms?

A: We sanitize our equipment and sterilize instruments following every patient visit so you know everything is clean and safe when you come in. Items we can’t confidently clean are disposed of.

Q: How can I maintain my oral health until my next appointment?

A. The best things you can do for your teeth, gums and mouth are what you hear from us on a regular basis. Maintain a healthy diet low in sugars and simple carbohydrates, brush twice a day for two minutes each time, floss or clean between your teeth daily and change your toothbrush regularly—they harbor bacteria. If we have given you other self-care tips, you will want to practice those too!