PALM BEACH, Fla. — Do you need to go to the dentist but have concerns about contracting the coronavirus?
Dr. Mitchell Josephs is reassuring patients that it is safe to return to the dentist.
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“I want people to know that delaying any kind of dental work always results in more extensive and more expensive dental work,” said Josephs.
He reopened his Palm Beach practice in early May after the state lifted a mandated closure.
Since then, Josephs has communicated the changes patients will experience when returning for non-emergent care.
The changes follow stringent CDC guidelines regarding social distancing and spacing out appointments. He’s also ensuring staff wears an appropriate amount of personal protective equipment.
However, after more than 30 years of practicing dentistry, Josephs added new pieces of technology to his office for an extra layer of protection.
Two extra-oral suction devices are now stationed by the dental chair in the exam rooms to help reduce potential contaminants that could spread through the air.
Josephs is also warning patients about the added obstacles they may encounter if dental care is delayed.
“Sometimes that cavity means either a root canal or that tooth has to be extracted and it turned into a dental implant. So, a $350 filling becomes a $5,000 replacement for one single tooth,” said Josephs.
In addition to wearing KN95 masks and gowns, he and his hygienists now use face shields.
When patients arrive at his office, staff members take their temperature to make sure they don’t have fevers, which could signal COVID-19 infections, and screen them by asking questions about their health.
According to the CDC, there is currently no data available to assess the risk of COVID-19 transmission during dental practice.
In the United States, clusters of health care personnel who have tested positive for COVID-19 have been identified in hospital settings and long-term care facilities. However, there have been no clusters of coronavirus cases reported in dental settings.