Local dentist Sethi won’t let Covid-19 bite her patients

Local dentist Sethi won't let Covid-19 bite her patients

Since the outbreak of the COVID-19 virus, many essential businesses have closed and adapted to our new world. Specifically, health professionals and hospitals have continuously been challenged with the impact of the pandemic. Dr. Sangeetha Sethi, a local pediatric dentist in Canfield, spoke to us about her experience with the pandemic and how it has affected her practice. 

She says, “The field of dentistry had made a big sacrifice by giving up our PPE (personal protective equipment) to medical doctors to have enough to treat COVID patients. We closed our practices because the mode of viral transmission was through moisture and aerosol through your nose and mouth, and that is the area that all dentists work in!”

Due to the nationwide quarantine mandate, Dr. Sethi had to close her office for two and a half months. However, Dr. Sethi volunteered to cover Mahoning County as the only pediatric dentist available for emergencies during that time. Her practice is now open but she had to make some changes to follow the COVID-19 guidelines.

Dr. Sethi states, “The turnover time for each patient is really what has changed the most. It is much longer than it used to be because we want to disinfect all of our rooms to make sure that the atmosphere is clean and safe after we see each patient. Because the turnover is a little longer, we don’t double book patients and we only allow one parent/guardian per patient at a time.”

Something as simple as pens, must be disinfected before each use. Dr. Sethi has two pen bins labeled “Clean” and “Used” to ensure a clean and healthy environment for her patients. She also has COVID screening questions to ask each patient before they are seen. Paper charts are no longer permitted in the room at the same time as the patient. 

“Our digital X-Ray system is used much more these days. Even our patient treatment techniques and cleanings have adapted to the new guidelines,” said Dr. Sethi.

Health professionals everywhere have had to wear additional masks and protective gowns to ensure the safety of themselves and others. Dr. Sethi says she wears an N-95 mask with an exam mask in front of it, as well as scrubs, a full coverage gown, and gloves. She tells us, “My hours have increased because of the time spent on the turnovers of rooms, cleaning all surfaces, wiping down each chair, changing equipment, etc. It makes for longer days but it’s worth it for the safety of my patients.” 

When asked what dental advice she would give anyone, Dr. Sethi states, “From a dental viewpoint, everyone is snacking a lot more now so they have to keep up their prevention and oral hygiene at home as well as make wise choices on what they eat! Most of all, make sure you continue to see your dentist on a regular basis.”