PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – The incoming president of the state’s dental association says new guidelines may help reopen dentists that have closed down during the coronavirus pandemic.
In the past three weeks, the Department of Health has issued three sets of guidelines as to how dentists should practice, but a new mandate came down just last night.
“Today we must assume that every patient has covid … Every doctor has covid…every staff has covid.”
Dental chairs like the ones in the office of Dr James Tauberg, an oral surgeon in Wilkinsburg,sit empty due to the coronavirus.
Initially the Department of Health wanted dentists to have a “negative pressure airway room” to see patients. That was financially impossible for most, so many offices closed.
“New guidelines state we have to have complete personal equipment on, that includes gloves, gown and N95 masks.”
Not only does the dentist have to be in full gear, so does his assistant. The guidelines also dictate that the office must be disinfected before and after each patient and that patients should be spaced apart. And those patients can only be seen if they are in pain or there is an infection.
“We are front line health care workers. A dentist isn’t just the guy who cleans your teeth he is the guy who get you out of pain.”
Dr. Tauberg recently ordered 20,000 N95 masks. He hopes to have them within 10 to 14 days. He will represents 5,500 dentist in Pennsylvania when he becomes president of the association in a few weeks. He says dentists and patients must be protected.
“We are right in that your mouth right where the virus is.” Frontline indeed.