SPRINGFIELD, Mo.– The days of packed waiting rooms and toys to calm nervous kids may be long gone as dental clinics reopen across Missouri.
“It’s kind of a unique environment, we don’t use our waiting room anymore at our office, and I know a lot of offices are that way,” said Dr. Mark Massey of Greater Springfield Endodontics.
Massey says staff meets patients at their cars instead.
“They call when they arrive and then we go out and check their temperature,” said Massey. “They also answer a questionnaire about travel and if they’ve been around anyone who’s been sick.”
All patients who don’t pass the pre-screening are rescheduled for two weeks out.
Massey says this new protocol is their first line of defense against the virus.
“I think that dental offices are good at infection control they always have been,” said Massey.
He says they’ve also added u-v lights in the ductwork and run an ozone machine overnight.
Dr. Howard Shayne owns Fox Grape Family Dentistry and says safety measures will vary from office to office.
“It is up to the individual dentist to use their professional judgment to decide what is appropriate in their office,” said Shayne.
Shayne says they’re also asking patients to wait in their cars until their appointment time.
“When they arrive, one of our assistants goes out into our vestibule and takes their temperature, blood pressure, and asks them several questions regarding the COVID-19 virus,” said Shayne.
He says once cleared, patients are taken directly to their treatment rooms.
Missouri dentists were never mandated to close their practices.
Instead, the American Dental Association recommended all dentists postpone non-urgent dental procedures through April 30th to help slow the spread of COVID-19.