“Your dentist, unfortunately, is not going to look like your dentist,” he says.
Much of Nkansah’s job is to be a few inches from patients’ open mouths. He is now one of the dental professionals who prepare to wear full personal protective equipment (PPE) once they are allowed to see patients regularly – including equipment such as an N95 respirator, gown and screen full facial.
As COVID-19 maintains its grip on society, dentists straddle a strange border between two worlds.
Like many businesses, they have been closed for the most part, but they are also medical professionals who generally work closely with potentially contagious patients.
Most dentists have been involved in emergency procedures since the start of the state of emergency in Ontario, but so far, provincial authorities say there is “no time yet” for dental clinics open completely.
In the midst of uncertainty, Nkansah spends an afternoon of the week getting tested for an N95 respirator so that he is ready every day.
Inside a large training space at Act First Safety, a Scarborough-based company based in Scarborough, a company offering occupational health and safety training, Nkansah wears his respirator under a large transparent dome-shaped hood.
Coach Brad Jackson adds some bitter-tasting sprays to the hood while Nkansah moves his head from side to side, up and down – making sure there are no leaks, otherwise he would notice a taste bitter in the mouth.
Lauren McFarlane, President of Act First Safety, said that more dental clinic staff came for this type of appointment, as most were planning to wear high-level protective gear for the first time when they would go back to work.
Typically, these fit test sessions were offered once a week; now the company sees at least 50 customers every day, four days a week.
Amid the growing desire for personal protection in dentistry, the Royal College of Dental Surgeons of Ontario also warns of “serious shortages” of personal protective equipment for dentists, as do the red flags raised by healthcare professionals in the hospital sector and in Canada. long-term care.
“We continue to raise with the ministry and other stakeholders the importance of creating a reliable PPE supply chain for dentistry as soon as possible,” wrote college president Dr. Flavio Turchet in a letter. open to dentists in April.
“I hope everyone is protected,” said Nkansah.
“There is no possibility of social distancing in dentistry; it simply cannot happen. “