Local dentist takes extra precautions to protect patients from COVID-19

You may be wondering if it's safe to visit your dentist during the pandemic. We are your station for health and want to let you know how dentists are looking out for your best interests. We talked to a local dentist to help you decide if you should go now or wait a little longer.

"Obviously if they have a fever or health problems like asthma, diabetes, or heart issues, unless it's an emergency they probably should stay home. We're screening all of our patients when they ever come in.  We ask all of the questions, like do you have a fever, do you have a cough, and have you been exposed to the virus, all of those kinds of questions," explains Dr. Spiker Davis with Cosmetic Dental Associates in Houston.

For those who do go to the dentist, peace of mind is important. Dr. Davis is wearing a lot of gear to protect his patients, himself and colleagues.

"That's the plan! We want to stay safe. I don't want to get it, they don't want to get it, so we're all trying to dodge it. So the first thing we do when they walk in the door, we ask the medical questions and take their temperature. Assuming they pass all of those, we'll take a look (at their teeth). Meanwhile, even the building is requiring that you come in with your mask on, so they come in with a mask. There's so many recommendations out there from the CDC and ADA, and I'm following with what the American Dental Association recommends, as well as the others. I'll wear safety glasses, and a second pair of glasses that I put over that. Then on top of that, we've got a mask and you've seen all the masks so you know about that. So the first is the N95 mask, which is the best you can get, and we put a surgical mask on top! So I've got two masks, two glasses, and then a shield over all of that. That prevents me from getting anything on them or vice versa," explains Dr. Davis.

He says it is a little tough to breathe under all of that, but he says he's making it work.

"Do what we got to do and it's going to work. I think most dentists are doing something similar. I'm not sure most dentists are wearing two masks or two glasses, but I think almost everyone has to be wearing one mask and a shield, because that's what is required. I think the dentist is safer than going to the store or big box stores. Most people are wearing masks in those stores, but it's probably not an N95 mask, like ours.  If you're walking down the aisle and you bump into that guy, does anybody check his temperature, does he wear an N95 mask, probably not. So, to me, I feel a lot safer in the dental office and that's what my patients are telling me, that they feel much safer here than anywhere," smiles Dr. Davis.

As an extra precaution, Dr. Davis says he's also using HEPA filters, which he hopes will help purify the air. He suggests his patients rinse their mouths and toothbrush with Listerine.  He says since it has alcohol in it, it should help kill the virus.