Dental Health Press

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Do you have the flu? Can you visit the dentist?

Hygienic standards protect against spreading the flu at the dentistIt is not uncommon for people to suffer from a flu several times every year. Common symptoms of respiratory infections and flus include sneezing, coughing, secretion from the nose, soar throat, stuffy nose and trouble breathing. Often, your whole body is affected and you will experience muscle pain, headaches, nausea and maybe even a fever. But what if your flu coincides with an appointment at the dentist? Should you still go? Here are some things to consider before making your decision:

Is it contagious?

It is probably no surprise to anyone that the flu is contagious. But what is the risk of spreading or contracting a flu in the dentist’s chair? In most countries there are laws requiring dentists to adhere to certain hygiene standards. According to these standards, dentists must desinfect the clinic and sterilize all instruments between each patient. Dentists will also in most cases choose to wear gloves, surgical masks and ‘glasses’ in order to protect both themselves and the patients. If these hygienic standards are followed, the risk of spreading viral and infectious diseases at the dental clinic is minimized. As a further precaution, the dentist can avoid using water spray and make sure to open the windows between patients.

In some cases – e.g. epidemics such as the swine flu – doctors might advise all patients to stay at home while suffering from the flu in order to avoid spreading the disease. This advice should be respected and the dentist will be understanding if you make sure to cancel your appointment as early as possible.

Can it be done?

Will it be possible for the dentist to examine you and/or treat you in your present condition? If you are having a cold or a flu, you might be suffering from a stuffy nose. During dental treatment you might not be able to breathe through your mouth. Consider, therefore, whether your condition will make it too difficult for the dentist to perform the needed treatment.

If you are still in doubt whether or not to visit the dentist with a flu, you can choose to call your dental office, explain your symptoms and ask their advice.

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