Understandably, many of us have been delaying getting our teeth checked due to COVID-19 restrictions. But while none of us know how long exactly the virus will be around, we do know that looking after our physical health will always remain imperative – and our oral hygiene is no exception.

What safety measures are in place?

Bupa Dental clinics around Australia are currently implementing strict safety standards in line with Government and health authority advice to ensure your risk of exposure is minimised.

Patients are asked pre-screening questions when confirming their booking and arriving at the clinic to ensure they’re not at risk of having COVID-19 and not isolating, either with suspected COVID-19 or as a close contact of someone with COVID-19. Anyone who then shows up at the dental practice with common signs of respiratory illness (e.g. a cough, runny nose, sore throat, or shortness of breath) will be asked to return home and reschedule their appointment for when they have recovered. And even if no flu-like symptoms appear to be present, touch free temperature checks are carried out for all patients, with hand sanitiser also provided upon entry.

In the waiting room, we’re taking steps to limit the amount of time patients spend in contact with each other. This is also being supported by extending opening hours – useful if you need to weave your appointment in around other commitments. Staff, who are working under the stringent condition that they are healthy and have not been in contact with anybody who has spent time overseas in the last 14 days, are routinely using surface wipes to keep any potential bacteria at bay.

In Victoria, as per Department of Health and Human Services requirements, all Victorians over the age of 12 must wear a fitted face mask when they leave home unless they have a lawful exemption. This includes the time they spend travelling to and from the dental clinic, and while they’re waiting for treatment.

In the treatment room itself, dentists are using personal protective equipment (PPE) for all treatments such as standard level 2 surgical masks, protective eyewear, gloves and appropriate protective outerwear.

My finances are tight at the moment, what are my options?

If you’ve had your hours reduced or cut this year you might be looking at trimming expenses where you can. Fortunately, a tight financial situation doesn’t mean you have to compromise on your dental health as Bupa members who have eligible hospital and extras cover are entitled to two free no-gap check-ups to use per year ending December 31st. If you’re not eligible, we can provide you with information on dental payment plans and offer you third-party services such as AfterPay, Openpay and Zip which can help you pay over time. There are many alternatives that will ensure you get the treatment that you need, so it’s always worth speaking to a Bupa Dental team member to figure out which one is right for you and your circumstances.

I don’t have time to go visit the dentist

Of course, things can get busy in the lead up to the end of the year, which is why we offer convenient opening hours, with over half of our clinics remaining open on Saturdays. With the festive season fast approaching, it’s a great idea to pencil in a dental check-up to ensure you can celebrate with family and friends and enjoy your favourite foods without experiencing dental pain.

I feel anxious about visiting the dentist

Feeling nervous about visiting the dentist isn’t uncommon. Here are some coping strategies you can try to help put you at ease. Rest assured that your health, safety and wellbeing are our top priority. And when you keep up to date on your oral hygiene, you’re helping prevent dental emergencies and preventable treatments down the track.

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