9 safety precautions dentist offices are taking to help reduce the spread of COVID-19

Is it safe to visit the dentist during the COVID-19 pandemic? Dentists can’t eliminate all risk, but they are taking steps to minimize the chances of spreading the coronavirus.
Below are nine things you should know before visiting the dentist:
1. Many dentists have removed magazines from waiting rooms, to minimize spread of germs.
2. Some chairs were also removed from waiting rooms to encourage social distancing.
3. Appointments are being spaced out, to avoid crowding their offices.
4. You may be asked to arrive for your appointment with masks (mandatory in Connecticut, New Jersey and New York).
5. You may be asked to wait in the car until the room/dentist is ready for your visit.
6. Staff may take your temperature and ask about COVID-19 symptoms.
7. To reduce risk of spread through droplets from saliva and water, some dentists are using manual tools for procedures like teeth cleanings, instead of other instruments that may do the job faster but create more of that spray.
8. Staff is wearing masks, face shields and other personal protective equipment.
9. Some dentists are charging for all the extra gear, so ask in advance if you should expect extra costs.
An Associated Press report contributed to this guide.