Despite coronavirus and all resulting limitations, life goes on. We still need to eat, shop, spend some time outside, walk our pets, and we surely still need to take care of our kids’ teeth. And it so happened that I noticed a small cavity in my daughter’s tooth a couple of weeks ago. It looked like it’s in a permanent tooth, so I freaked out a little.
Our pediatric dental clinic is very good and also very busy, so I called them right away. I wasn’t sure how far in advance they schedule appointments and how do they operate during the pandemic. Fortunately I was able to get an appointment for her and for her brother’s routine dental cleaning in less than two weeks. This is not bad at all!
As usual, I was told to arrive 15 minutes earlier and this time I listened, because I didn’t know what to expect. We pulled up to their parking lot and saw a line of two cars, so we stopped right behind them. The nurses with masks and boards in hands were coming to each car and then showing them where to park. When our turn came, I was asked to park close by and remain in the car until somebody came to us. The nurse gave two forms to fill out and sign, one per child.
The forms were short questionnaires about recent travel and possible exposure to COVID-19. I signed that if I will notice any symptoms in the next 14 days, I will let them know for contact tracing. In a few minutes a different nurse came and asked about what we need to get done today. Since kids needed different things - one cavity and another one cleaning, they were going to be taken into separate wings of the facility. I usually had them in chairs next to each other and was able to stay with them both, but not this time.
Parents were discouraged from entering, unless they really wanted to and had a mask. I really wanted to be with my daughter and had a mask, so they allowed me to come with her. My son was taken in first by a nurse while I stayed in the car. He had his temperature checked at the door and sanitizer applied to his hands before entering the building.
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In a few minutes my daughter and I went in too. We both had our temperatures checked and hands sanitized. There was no waiting inside and we went right to the X-ray machine. There I learned some good news – the cavity was in one of her two remaining baby teeth, which was already loose anyway.
We went to the chair, where our doctor came and suggested two courses of action – to pull the tooth out or leave it alone since it was going to fall out soon on its own. We went with leaving the tooth alone. The nurses and doctors all wore protective gear, gloves, and stayed within 6 feet when talking to parents and patients, unless procedures were needed.
Once her visit was over, we picked the little brother, got small prizes for behaving good and left. This whole experience was very pleasant and efficient. I felt safe and didn’t have any concerns for me or the kids. These precautions are enough, in my humble opinion, to stay healthy while not neglecting our health even during the unprecedented year of 2020.