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The New Normal – Going to the Dentist

For our own health and safety, we’ve turned into a society that is now weary of handshakes, nervous sitting next to strangers and uncomfortable going to gyms, movie theaters or shopping malls. No one could have predicted what the spring of 2020 would look like, but as states continue to reopen and stay-at-home restrictions ease, many of us are looking forward to getting back to normal. Though in the wake of COVID-19, ‘normal’ has a very different meaning. During our weekly trips to the grocery store, we’ll continue to see a sea of faces behind masks. More companies will offer work-from-home options than ever before, retail and restaurants will continue to implement stringent cleaning protocols, and even a routine visit to the dentist will feel foreign.

Last week, I went to the dentist for my annual cleaning. I entered the building wearing a mask and before I made it past the door, my temperature and blood pressure were taken. Once the front desk staff had confirmed I didn’t have any obvious symptoms, I was taken back to the dental chair. My dental hygienist was covered from head to toe in medical garb, with two masks and protective goggles worn. Before she was able to work on my teeth, I had to gargle with hydrogen peroxide to break up any potential bacteria in the back of my throat.

Once the cleaning started, the dentist hygienist wasn’t able to use the jet spray to break up any potential plaque and wasn’t able to rinse my mouth. This was to avoid having any bacteria particles spread around the room. If my mouth needed to be rinsed, I was provided a separate cup of water and used the sink next to the chair. When the cleaning was over, I was taken out the back door to limit the interaction and space between other patients.

While this experience may not be what I’m used to, I know these changes are for my health and safety. So, let’s welcome our new normal with open arms, as it’s our resiliency and motivation to continue living that will make an impact – not the presence of masks, social distancing markers or temperature checks.