By Emily Drooby
Dentist Joseph Izzo starts his morning by gearing up.
“We are wearing gowns, we are wearing face shields, we are wearing masks, we are protecting our eyes,” Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery Specialist Currents News.
Everything is being done to limit the spread of germs. Plastic coats surface he might touch, warning signs greet guests in the lobby, and a special air filtration system sits in the corner of the office.
“When you’re dealing with aerosols and you’re dealing with airborne pathogens, the problem is tremendously more difficult to properly address,” he explained.
The dental field is flagged as high-risk because of the pandemic, consistently topping most dangerous jobs lists.
People across the country have been left thinking: is it safe to go to the dentist? Some offices across the country are citing drops in patients. A study by the American Dental Association estimates that dental care spending could have dropped by 38 percent in 2020.
Despite these fears, dentists have been able to stay pretty safe. A study by the American Dental Association found the average monthly rate of dentists with COVID-19 is under one percent, a lower number compared to other health professions.
Dentists credit years of perfecting ways to stop the spread of infections. Enhanced protections started ramping up in the mid-eighties.
“We in dentistry have been on the forefront of infection control, it goes back to the early days of AIDS,” explained Dr. Izzo.
Working inside someone’s mouth forces you to learn how to keep everyone safe.
“Dentistry went through a tremendous transformation in terms of infection control,” Dr. Izzo said. “While we were always aware of what we needed to do, the level that we brought it up to was pretty amazing. I think that because of that, we were prepared for this.”
It’s a good thing they were prepared. While telemedicine did provide some relief for patients, they needed to get people back into the office as quickly as possible.
“We have to find a way to do it so that the people who are in need get proper attention and can be taken care of, and that’s what we have done,” said Dr. Izzo.