Dental healthcare providers anxious for reopening

KNWA

"There are still so many issues that haven't been addressed," Reames said.

FORT SMITH, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) — While dental offices across the Natural State prepare to see patients again on Monday, May 11, many hygienists have reached out to KNWA/KFTA worried about a possible lack of proper PPE.

KNWA/KFTA introduced you to River Valley Registered Dental Hygienist Kyra Reames last week, when Arkansas announced elective dental procedures could resume on May 18.

I wouldn’t have my mom, or husband, or child in my chair at 5 o’clock, after having so much still left unknown about this virus.

KYRA REAMES, REGISTERED DENTAL HYGIENIST

Now with the reopening pushed up to May 11, Reames said she still has concerns.

“There’s just so much up in the air right now,” she said.

The Arkansas Department of Health recently updated its original Provision for Resuming Non-Urgent/Non-Emergent Elective Services.

It gives more specific guidelines — like setting N-95 masks as the standard for dental healthcare providers.

“Everything that’s been given to us is just recommendations,” Reames said. “It leaves a lot of loopholes and a chance for loopholes to be taken advantage of.”

Dentist--dental-office-jpg_20161203034750-159532

Arkansas State Dental Association President Dr. Pierce Osborne said he’s confident though, that the guidelines set out aren’t going to be taken lightly.

Everyone should have all of the appropriate PPE or they should not see patients.

DR. PIERCE OSBORNE, ARKANSAS STATE DENTAL ASSOCIATION PRESIDENT

Dr. Osborne said if they are, actions will be taken.

“If they report that office does not have that equipment, that office will be investigated,” he said.

A lot of people would still be too scared to report that kind of stuff.

KYRA REAMES, REGISTERED DENTAL HYGIENIST

As all the dental healthcare providers anxiously wait for Phase One of reopening, safety is the number one priority on everyone’s minds.

“We’re ready to proceed in a slow and cautious manner, and in a way that keeps our patients safe,” Dr. Osborne said. “It is very important to us.”

“If we have the proper PPE and a sufficient amount of it, then hygienists in general I think would feel okay,” Reames said. “I mean cautious but okay.”

Stay with KNWA/KFTA as we continue to follow this story.

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