As the country begins to reopen, we are a little like cave dwellers, blinded by the sun after so many weeks spent underground. Understanding our “new normal” will take time. This includes understanding when, and how, to schedule a dental visit.
Different parts of the country are opening at different speeds. Some states have already reopened their dental offices to non-essential visits. Other states have yet to reopen or are reopening county by county. No matter where you live, your dental office will eventually open. And when it does, there are a few things to consider as you schedule your appointment.
Your First Call is to Your Local Dentist
With the patchwork of different reopening timelines, your local dentist is the best resource for up-to-date information. Also keep in mind that even with restrictions lifting, not all dental offices will reopen right away. Some might need extra time to ramp back up. Your dentist will give you the most accurate information for your situation.
Changes to the Scheduling Process
- When your part of the country reopens, the process of scheduling your next dental appointment may look a little different. This could include:
- • New technologies like online scheduling and text message communications
- • Pre-screening questions to determine if it is safe for you to come in
- • Pre-appointment health questionnaires, similar to the forms you filled out as a new patient
Wait Times for Appointments May Vary
Some dentists are backlogged, so wait times for new appointments may be longer than usual. Some dentists may need to schedule fewer appointments each day so they can keep patients distanced from one another. Offices may delay complicated procedures or prioritize certain high-needs patients. So even if your dentist has room on the calendar, don’t be surprised if you get put on a waitlist.
Don’t Procrastinate Scheduling
All of this being said, don’t wait to schedule your next appointment. If you have been holding off on taking care of a “non-emergency” dental concern, now is the time. It is also important to keep up with preventative exams, especially if you are pregnant or have a medical condition that puts you at higher risk for dental problems. Call your dentist and at least get the ball rolling on your next appointment.
And last but not least, please be patient. New changes are hard on everyone, including your dentist and office staff. It might take a little time, but in the end your healthy smile is our priority!