Arkansas Health Department making sure dentists have PPE


ROGERS, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) — As local dentist offices continue to offer more services, the Arkansas Department of Health is making sure staff are prepared for patients.

Director of the Office of Oral Health, Dr. Lindy Bollen said due to the virus infecting the respiratory system, if dentists just throw open the doors and continue business
as usual, it could be catastrophic.

He said dentists will do temperature checks and have additional protective equipment like face shields and gowns. This is because they could be working on asymptomatic patients, meaning they have the virus but show no symptoms.

The hand pieces that are used put aerosols in the air that could linger even after the patient is gone.
So a he generated a random list from every dentist in Arkansas, and picked every fifth one to check-in on.

He said he’s happy to see how well the offices are following guidelines.

“We’ve had very positive results, we’ve had several that have taken pictures and shown us how offices are preparing for this. Many of these offices have even exceeded what i thought they would be doing.”

Dr. Lindy Bollen, Director, Office of Oral Health

The Arkansas Dental Association is serving as a point-of-contact for every dentist, he said, whether they are a member or not. It is doing inventory to see what supplies offices need, and the health department will provide it until PPE runs out.

Due to the close proximity patients come in with their dentist, he said it’s always better to err on the side of caution. So, he said they are also checking to make sure offices are working to reduce crowing, like spacing out a waiting room.

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