1) How do dentists ensure that patients are protected from being infected?
Dental clinics are like mini-hospitals and are required to follow strict infection and exposure controls on an ongoing basis. Dentists comply with Infection Control Standards set by the College. The BCDA has also provided dentists with an Exposure Control Plan that outlines requirements for Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) as a standard practice for managing all patients - all the time. Both of these documents are posted on the BCDA website under COVID-19.
2) If dentists are responsible to treat dental emergencies, such as uncontrolled bleeding, infection, swelling or trauma/accident. How do I know I am safe?
Dentists follow Infection Control and Exposure Control guidelines as a regular course of practice. With the focus of containing the COVID-19 virus, until March 22, dentists who attended the dental conference are required to manage emergencies by phone first (prescribe antibiotics or pain relief as required). Dentists who did not attend the conference can provide essential as well as emergency care in their office now. After March 22, all dentists can provide essential as well as emergency care in their office following standard protocols if the patient does not have symptoms. If the patient has cold or flu symptoms, the dentist can treat the patient in their practice or refer the patient to a clinic or hospital with required Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) in place. (NOTE THAT LIFESTYLE DENTISTRY DID NOT ATTEND THE DENTAL CONFERENCE)
As regulated health care professionals, dentists share the primary responsibility to keep patients and staff safe. They are committed to lessen the burden on overtaxed hospitals by treating dental patients in their clinics within the guidelines provided.
3) What should I do if I think I have COVID-19?
The Public Health Agency of Canada has provided instructions for the steps you are expected to take in a fact sheet called Coronavirus disease (COVID-19): How to isolate at home when you have COVID-19. A new COVID-19 assessment tool is also available at covid19.thrive.health/.
4) What is the difference between "self-isolate", "self-monitor" and "quarantine"?
Please refer to a very helpful resource from the Public Health Agency of Canada titled Know the Difference: Self-monitoring, self-isolation, and isolation for COVID-19.
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Jacquie's Story - Self conscious of my smile
"For as long as I can remember I have always been self conscious of my front teeth because of the gap in between them. I eventually had the gap closed with bonding which made me feel a little better about them but I ... more