COVID-19 is continuing to change the way people work, interact, and function day-to-day. With dental offices reopening and staff members returning, the “new normal” looks far different than before. If you are currently in a dental assistant program and working at a local practice to gain real-world experience, you may be surprised by some of the changes you’ll see when you arrive back at work. Read on to find out what you can expect when preparing to help dentists and patients alike.
Keeping Bacteria and Viruses Out: A Stronger Emphasis on Sanitation
As a dental assistant, it is your responsibility to know how to sanitize and thoroughly clean instruments, equipment, and other frequently used objects within an office; however, COVID-19 is currently causing more dental assistants to find additional ways to amp up sanitation efforts to better protect themselves and patients.
While many rely on the expertise of certain health and safety organizations, such as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) for guidance and instruction, another solution is to complete the OSAP-DALE Foundation Dental Infection Prevention and Control Certificate Program (Organization for Safety, Asepsis and Prevention). This helps dental assistants become more knowledgeable about infection control and make better decisions when it comes to keeping a dental office clean and virus-free.
Closely Monitoring Current Patient Health: Pre-Screening and Social Distancing
Instead of patients arriving for their appointment and taking a seat in the waiting room, you will find that it is now necessary to perform a pre-screening to ensure the individual is healthy and has not been exposed to anyone with COVID-19. This may include taking their temperature as well as asking a series of questions upon arrival.
Also, depending on your dental office, patients may now be required to wait in their vehicles until it’s time for their appointment. Other social distancing measures can include:
- Removal of magazines and other reading materials from the waiting room
- The spacing of all chairs and seating to ensure they are at least 6 feet apart
- Installing glass or plastic barriers within the reception area of the office
- Spaced-out scheduling to avoid too many patients being in the office at one time
Providing a Sense of Calm: Easing the Minds of Concerned Patients
If you sense or know that a patient is nervous or scared about the idea of coming in for a regular appointment, you, as a dental assistant, can help to ease their mind and keep them calm about their time spent in the office. As part of your dental assistant classes, you learn how and why maintaining a compassionate demeanor is important.
When faced with patients who are fearful of potentially contracting COVID-19, you can remind them of the extensive safety protocols that are currently being implemented to ensure they remain healthy during and after their visit.
These are difficult times for everyone, but if you take the appropriate steps to learn, be proactive, and maintain a clear focus, you can help in making a patient’s experience less stressful and more enjoyable.
About Dental Assistant Pro
For more than 25 years, Dental Assistant Pro has been providing aspiring dental assistants with essential knowledge and hands-on skills learning. Our philosophy is the best dental assisting training should be taught in a dental office at an affordable cost, so why not take a chance and enroll in our 10-week course schedule? It’s now more affordable than ever to become a dental assistant! To learn more about us, visit our website or call (513) 515-6611.