“It’s been almost eight weeks since the suspension of regular treatment. Since then, we’ve only dealt with dental emergencies, ”said Paul Blanchard, executive director of the New Brunswick Dental Society.
Dentists and their staff prepare to see patients while following the appropriate guidelines provided by the Ministry of Public Health.
Blanchard said dentists would initially prioritize patients with urgent dental needs.
“We had a kind of rigid definition of what an emergency was. So it was facial or vehicular trauma or prolonged bleeding or swelling or pain that was unmanageable. “
Blanchard said that everything else had not been treated at the office but could have been treated with a prescription.
“So now we’re a little bit behind and we want to make sure in the first two to three weeks that dentists are really taking the time to put their resources into treating these patients.” “
Preselection before the visit
Patients will be screened by a call from the office to ensure that they have no symptoms associated with COVID-19. They can also have their temperature taken on arrival.
“We are going to ask them to wear a community mask. We will ask people to stay in their car when they arrive at the dental office and to call to let them know they are there. “
Blanchard said it was to avoid having people in the waiting room.
“So there are a lot of things going to happen before you even set foot in the dental office. “
Unless it is a young child or someone who needs help, people should go to the office alone.
Dental hygienists will not resume cleaning and preventive dental care until June 1.
Blanchard said that slow or gradual opening will allow dentists and staff to get used to the new protocols with physical distance to the workplace.
“Initially, we don’t see a business as usual approach. We certainly see this as a gradual return. Initially, this could represent 30 to 60% of what a dental office could have done before COVID. “
Blanchard said they are also telling dentists to space the schedule more than they normally would to make sure there is no interaction between patients.
For anyone concerned about the treatment and transmission of COVID-19, the province said in a technical briefing on May 8 that dental clinics are experts in hygiene and sterilization. If the appropriate screening protocols are followed, the risk of transmission would be very low.