How Risky is Getting My Teeth Cleaned?

In our series "What's the Risk?" experts weigh in on what risks different scenarios pose for transmitting COVID-19.

How Risky is Getting My Teeth Cleaned?

When it comes to getting sick with COVID-19, you might be thinking about this, and we have too. Chris Gropp asks:

"I was wondering, with everything going on, is it safe to go get my teeth cleaned at the dentist? What’s the risk? Thank you!"

We asked the experts: Dr. Frank Esper, a pediatric infectious disease specialist at The Cleveland Clinic; Katie Cary, vice president of infection prevention for HCA Continental Division; and Dr. Nipunie Rajapakse, a pediatric infectious diseases physician at the Mayo Clinic.

Their take: Contracting COVID-19 from getting your teeth cleaned is medium risk. 

"The risk here really comes down to what your dentist office has implemented to try and protect themselves and their patients. And this will vary from place to place. So before you go in for any appointment, I would encourage people to call their office and find out exactly what they're doing to keep you and keep their staff safe," Rajapakse said. 

"Don't go get your teeth cleaned if you are having any signs or symptoms of a respiratory illness. And also the expectation should be from that medical office or dental office that they also don't have any health care workers that are also working sick," Cary said.

"Really depends on what the dentists have done. And many of them, when they reopen up, are going to be spreading everybody out. They're going to stagger who gets in and get them out of the waiting room and get them back into the dentist chair rather than having a lot of people waiting. And so I would say that so long as your dentists are following the rules that are set out by the government, state and federal recommendations, I have a feeling that that is going to be a low to medium risk," Esper said.

If you have a question about your risk, send us a video to whatstherisk@newsy.com. You can see answers to other questions here