Dentist? And if so, which clinic?
June 29, 2020 11:09 AM   Subscribe

I have a cavity, maybe, and a choice between two dental clinics which are very different.

I have TMD pain which causes all my teeth to ache in sequence. I think one of them actually has a cavity because there's slightly more persistent soreness when I bite down. How urgent is this?

If I do go to the dentist, I can choose between two clinics and am not sure which to pick. I'd have the first Monday morning appointment at either, and both are closed on the weekend.

Clinic one: Fancy clinic that serves downtown office workers, latest technology. They tell me staff have K95s, hopefully good ones. Drawback: Clinic is relatively open, with bays for patients and lots of air circulation.

Clinic two: Much less fancy, serves students and faculty at university. Have not checked with them about PPE, but I won't go unless they use K or N95s. This clinic has individual rooms for seeing patients. Drawbacks: How is air circulated in clinc? Don't know! Likely to be more crowded and they don't seem to have as good a waiting room protocol.

Which is safest?

I know of two people who were, like me, isolating totally and who got coronavirus at the dentist. Dentists are careful but care isn't magic. My partner is very high risk and I have risk factors myself.
posted by Frowner to Health & Fitness (4 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Most likely the newer fancier one will be more likely to test employees and be more careful about PPEs. You could always call and ask.
posted by bbqturtle at 11:39 AM on June 29 [2 favorites]

I would call (maybe call both!), explain my COVID-19 risk factors and my dental symptoms, and ask what they recommend. Personally, I wouldn't go to a dentist right now except for an emergency, and soreness when you bite down doesn't sound like an emergency (I am usually less cautious about COVID-19 than a lot of mefites and I 100% recognize that dental problems can be serious and life-threatening).

If the dentist(s) say it's worth coming in for, I would choose whichever one has better PPE for the dentists/hygienists - they're the ones who are going to be up in your face breathing on you, therefore likely the ones who you would get it from. You can turn around and walk away if the waiting room is full of unmasked sick-looking folks, but it's a lot harder to jump out of the procedure chair, mid-filling.
posted by mskyle at 12:14 PM on June 29

Does one of them have open windows? Not as good as outdoors, but open windows circulate more air than ventilation systems.

Do either of them test staff regularly? since someone is so literally 'in your face.' Can you wear a partial face shield, and can they wear a face shield?
posted by theora55 at 12:20 PM on June 29

Just saw this in WaPo.
posted by theora55 at 7:32 PM on June 29

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