On Monday March 22, 2020 Governor Gregg Abbott issued an executive order. The order required dentists to delay all non-emergent treatment until midnight April 30, 2020. The American Dental Association has also recommended that dental offices nationwide should postpone all non-emergent dental visits and routine care appointments to control the spread of the Coronavirus. If this stays in effect this means we will not be able to treat our patients again until May 4, 2020.
If your child has a scheduled appointment during this time, my team will be in contact with you to get your child rescheduled. We will be calling approximately the week before your child’s current appointment in the hopes that this order is lifted and/or modified prior to April 30, 2020.
The American Dental Association offers a guide to determine if a patient is experiencing a medically necessary dental problem or is need of emergent care. Examples of emergent care are trauma involving facial bones, anevulsed tooth (a permanent tooth that has been knocked out of the mouth due to trauma), abscess, facial swelling, severe tooth pain and treatment that if left untreated could severely impact the child’s health. Dental procedures generate a large number of droplets and aerosols. Our latest advice is that our standard personal protective equipment is not effective enough to prevent the spread of the COVID-19, especially when patients are in the incubation period and are unaware, they are infected. This is especially unique to our profession as the children are being found to be asymptomatic carriers. This means that screening is no longer considered effective in capturing all who may be infected with the virus. Continuing to provide elective dental treatment and cleanings currently is just not appropriate when trying to contain this virus.
OSHA has placed dental professionals in the “very high exposure risk” category regarding the COVID-19. Current recommendations are that dentists and team members wear N95 masks for dental procedures. However, not only are these masks extremely difficult to obtain at this time, but most importantly, they need to be conserved for the other professions that are at the forefront of fighting this virus.
If your child has a true dental emergency as noted above, please contact our office at 972-724-1617 and someone will assist you. Please do NOT go the Emergency Room, call our office first.
Rest assured that we are keeping current with scientific and government recommendations, talking with local colleagues, and taking direction from our national organizations. We are sorry for any inconvenience that this may cause.
We remain committed to the safety of you and your family! We appreciate your understanding as we all try to navigate through this unprecedented situation.
Stay home and stay healthy!
Debra C. Duffy, DDS