As various services gear up to reopen after the May long weekend, those in need of a teeth cleaning will need to wait a little longer.
The BC Dental Association announced Thursday (May 15) that dental offices will not be returning to regular practice on the Tuesday following the upcoming long weekend, on May 19.
Instead, “full dental services, including hygiene care, will be introduced gradually and when it is safe to do so” and once guidelines are released, the association said in a statement.
Dentists have been limited to tele-dentistry and emergency care since March 23.
Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said on Wednesday that guidelines are in the works with the College of Dental Surgeons of BC for dentists looking at how best to reopen their offices.
“Direction is going to be provided, and we’re working on that with the regulatory authorities, the colleges for all the regulated health professions, on incremental changes and the guidance they need to move forward over the next couple of weeks,” she said at the time.
Dentist association spokesperson, Dr. Alastair Nicoll, said that dental teams are “experts at infection control” and dentists want to ensure their practices are appropriately set up to comply with physical distancing and other particular requirements to reduce the transmission of the novel coronavirus, which has no cure or vaccine.
Nicoll warned British Columbians that their dental experience will look difference in the near future.
“Chairs, magazines and toys will be removed from waiting rooms, and the receptionist may be sitting behind a plexiglass screen,” Nicoll said. “Patients will also be asked different health screening questions when making their appointment and on the day of their appointment; and asked to clean their hands before and after their appointment.”
Patients with a dental emergency or concern are still urged to contact their dentist.
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