TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - When’s the last time you went to the dentist? For many, because of the pandemic it’s been longer than normal.
But dentists say people are starting to make appointments again as the number of COVID-19 cases trends downward. But still, not everyone is eager to be back in the exam chair.
“It’s safe for you to go back and see your dentist right now,” said Kathy Baum, The Officer Manager at Howard Steinberg Dentistry. “We’re all on board, we’re all working through this together.”
She says business is starting to return to normal.
“I’m finding a lot less cancellations,” siad Baum. “Patients aren’t as afraid to come to the dental office now.”
Though, not everyone is feeling confident in returning to get their teeth cleaned. Tucson resident Molly Madden says she hasn’t been to the dentist in a year and a half.
“If I had COVID and didn’t know and was breathing on them and into the room, that makes me uncomfortable,” said Madden.
Baum says they’re taking the necessary precautions to ensure staff and patients stay safe and healthy.
“We have to put an extra 10 to 15 minutes in between patients to revamp the room, to clean the room, change all of the PPE,” said Baum. “It’s slowed us down quite a bit. Rooms were totally full, now we have to limit inbetween everybody.”
Patients are required to wait outside and when they do come in before they are treated, they have to wash their hands and rinse their mouth.
“It’s a new normal is what it is,” said Baum. “We did a lot of research before we opened back up and took an extra week just to get the office situated the way we needed it to be. "
On top of this, simple operating costs are skyrocketing. Baum says PPE has doubled in price. But, she says it’s worth it and patients have told her how much they appreciate the office taking so much care.
“They feel secure,” said Baum. “They feel safe, they see that were going the extra step to make sure that everyone is taken care of.”
Though, Madden says it will still be a while before she feels safe enough to head to the dentist again.
“I don’t want to go to the dentist during covid,” said Madden. “Potentially once I’m vaccinated or when it’s safe to go out again and I need my teeth cleaned.”
Officials say if you don’t feel comfortable going to the dentist, you should continue to regularly brush and floss your teeth at home.