Why We Ask Patients to Wear Masks
By: Nicholle Hrdlicka, RDH, Compliance Specialist
The COVID-19 pandemic has required us to revisit our already-high safety standards to ensure we can provide our patients the dental care they need in the safest environment possible during these quickly changing times. As a result, we will be requiring all patients and staff to undergo a COVID-19 screening before entering our clinics, as well as asking all patients to wear a mask when inside our clinics except when receiving care.
We’re requiring our patients to wear a mask inside our clinics based on recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Read on to learn why we’ve instituted this requirement and how it will protect you.
Wearing a Mask Protects You and Our Staff
Wearing a mask inside our clinic helps ensure your safety. The CDC has been providing regular updates about how COVID-19 spreads and they’ve found that wearing a mask significantly reduces the transmission of the virus.
“We now know from recent studies that a significant portion of individuals with coronavirus lack symptoms (“asymptomatic”) and that even those who eventually develop symptoms (“pre-symptomatic”) can transmit the virus to others before showing symptoms. This means that the virus can spread between people interacting in close proximity—for example, speaking, coughing, or sneezing—even if those people are not exhibiting symptoms.” *
In addition, it can take 2-14 days after exposure to show symptoms of COVID-19. In fact, you can have the virus and never show symptoms at all. It’s estimated that about 20% of individuals who have the virus do not show symptoms and therefore are putting others at risk if they have the virus unknowingly and don’t wear a mask in public. **
So, wearing a mask in public venues like our clinics, and where social distancing can be difficult to follow, slows the spread of COVID-19 and helps those who may have the virus and do not know it from transmitting it to others.
Wearing a Mask Provides Peace of Mind
Since we know COVID-19 can be spread by asymptomatic individuals and that there are not enough resources currently to test everyone for the virus, the unknown of who has COVID-19 and who doesn’t can be stressful to many.
Think about seeing your breath on a mirror or a window. The condensation you see are all particles and droplets that can spread the virus. Imagine those particles being spread when you or someone around you does not wear a mask and coughs, sneezes, or simply talks. Those droplets are now airborne and can travel up to 6 feet. By wearing a mask in our clinic, we can have a little more peace of mind that we’re taking one more step toward preventing the spread of the virus—especially through asymptomatic individuals.
We acknowledge that wearing a mask can be awkward or uncomfortable (just ask our teams members that wear them all day long!), but please keep in mind that we serve patients of all age groups at our clinics and want to do everything possible to assure the safety of each and every one of you. We look forward to the day when we can see your big smile when we greet each other, but until then, it’s best to err on the side of caution.