Dentists ask patients to show patience at the office

Posted at 11:51 AM, Aug 21, 2020
and last updated 2020-08-22 11:21:06-04

RICHMOND, Va. -- As most Richmond-area dentist offices have reopened during the pandemic, many have reported a shift from pre-pandemic business.

Virginia dental offices are seeing 75% of their pre-COVID patients. The decline, according to experts, is due to precautions added to already strict health protocol.

"It just takes a little longer. I think that's what patients are going to notice most," Dr. Frank Iuorno, President-elect for the Virginia Dental Association (VDA). "Donning and doffing PPE for dentists. You know we can't go from one patient to the other ."

With reopening, each dental office has put in place various protocols the VDA has recommended, including:

  • Pre-screening and temperature checks before appointments
  • Patients will “check-in” by calling the office from the parking lot and wait in their car before the appointment
  • Masks are required to be worn to appointments
  • Appointment scheduling will be staggered to minimize the number of people entering and exiting buildings
  • Dental offices have installed physical barriers such as plexiglass in reception areas
  • Dental staff and dentists are wearing PPE and practicing social distancing
  • Enhanced cleanings of office and equipment with EPA-approved disinfectants

"The experience is different," Dr. Frank Iuorno said. "It's different on both sides. It's different for the patient and for the provider. You know we live in these masks and shields. We do a great job of keeping it safe for the patients. It just takes us a little extra time. So please be patient with us."

Click here for more information on what patients can expect at their next visit.