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To reduce the spread of COVID-19, since March 19, most dental offices in Washington were only open for urgent dental needs. Now, as our state begins to reopen, dental offices are seeing patients for non-urgent dental care. With new safety precautions in place, your next visit may look different than it did before COVID-19.

Here’s what you can expect at your next dental appointment:

  • To keep you safe, all areas of the office will be cleaned and disinfected frequently, including the waiting room and exam rooms.
  • Hygiene items, like hand sanitizer and wipes, will also be available.
  • You’ll see certain precautions in place for physical distancing. Some offices may ask that you call the front desk when you arrive and wait in your car until they are ready for you. Others have reorganized waiting rooms to keep a six-foot distance.
  • Front desk staff will be wearing masks and/or have a clear safety shield at their desk.
  • When you call for an appointment, you’ll be asked basic health screening questions to make sure you are healthy and ready for an appointment.

What does it mean to be “screened” before an appointment?

Before your appointment, a dental office staff member will ask you some health screening questions to keep you and other patients safe. When you arrive for your appointment, they will ask these questions again, along with taking your temperature.

Example screening questions include:

  • Do you have a fever, or have you felt hot/feverish lately?
  • Are you having shortness of breath or other breathing difficulties?
  • Do you have a cough?
  • Do you have any flu-like symptoms, such as digestive issues, headache, or fatigue?
  • Are you experiencing any other symptoms that we should know about?
  • Are you or have you been in contact with any confirmed COVID-19 positive patients?
  • Are you over age 60?
  • Do you have heart, lung or kidney disease, diabetes, or any autoimmune disease?
  • Have you traveled out of Washington State in the past 2 weeks?

If you answer “yes” to one or more of these questions, the dentist or office staff will have a deeper discussion with you before proceeding with the appointment. If you are feeling unwell, for the safety of yourself, staff, and others, it is best to stay home and schedule your appointment for another time.

Dental providers understand that this is a new dental environment, and they are very willing to talk to you in detail about your appointment and answer any questions you may have.

If you want to know more about what to expect, here are some additional questions to ask when you make your appointment:

  • What should I do when I arrive for my appointment?
  • Do I need to wear a mask or other personal protective equipment, such as gloves?
  • How will the dental appointment be different from previous appointments?
  • Where should I wait while my family member is in their appointment?

If you are looking for a dentist or need help setting up an appointment, CHOICE can help. Give us a call at 360-539-7576 ext. 103 or email