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B.C. dental offices will not return to regular practice next week

Last Updated May 14, 2020 at 8:44 pm PDT

FILE - Dental offices will reopen gradually, when safe to do so, says the B.C. Dental Association (NEWS 1130 photo) (Source: iStock)
Summary

They will open gradually, when safe to do so, but no dates have been given by the B.C. Dental Association

The association says access to personal protection equipment is a concern

Premier, provincial health officer indicated new guidelines for regulated medical services are being worked on

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) — Dental offices will not return to regular practice on Tuesday as part of the next phase of the province’s restart plan.

They will open gradually, when safe to do so, but no dates have been given by the B.C. Dental Association.

The association says access to personal protection equipment is a concern.

“As evidenced in other provinces, there is no singular approach to restarting services. Plans for B.C. will consider the different circumstances in various areas, including access to required personal protective equipment,” says a release from the dental association.

On Wednesday, Premier John Horgan and Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry indicated new guidelines for regulated medical services — to keep workers and patients safe — were being worked on, but hadn’t been finalized yet.

“As we can all appreciate, the guidelines to protect patients, dentists and dental staff need to be aligned based on the epidemiology of managing the risk of COVID-19 in B.C.,” says the dental association.

“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 COVID-19”, says Dr. Alastair Nicoll, with the dental association.

“Dental offices have been limited to tele-dentistry and emergency care since March 23. When the public health orders change, and patients begin returning to dental offices, the dental visit will look different.”

That could mean chairs, magazines, or toys being removed from waiting rooms, while receptionists may have to sit behind Plexiglass screen.

Patients will also be asked different health screening questions when making appointments, says the association, as well as to clean their hands before and after visits.