SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — Dentists are at high risk for work-related exposure to coronavirus, causing many offices across the country to focus on emergency only procedures.
If it’s not an emergency, stay home. That’s what Dr. Denis Miller at Siouxland Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery is recommending for his patients.
“In our office and throughout the different dental offices under the guidance of the South Dakota Dental Association and our parent organizations, the patient visits are being restricted to emergencies, or what they call urgencies, people who if you don’t treat them now are probably going to get a lot worse in the next couple of months,” Miller said.
And it’s not just changes for patients, but for staff too. In addition to less staff in the building, Miller says when operating on patients extra protective gear is now being worn.
“The protective gear that we wear now is the N-95 masks as well as the shields, and of course the disinfectant techniques have really been ramped up a notch. And in our office in partial we have the ability to isolate people, so no one’s in the waiting room,” Miller said.
Even during our interview we stayed outside his office to avoid any unnecessary path crossing and used an extra-long mic stick to practice social distancing.
“This is social distancing at it’s finest. If everyone could maybe travel with a stick that would be great. But the idea is that you need to be at least 6 feet apart,” Miller said.
Patients who do have dental emergencies will be asked a list of questions including have you traveled to any COVID-19 hot spots, and are you currently sick, as well as having their temperature taken before being treated.
And while Miller says they’re still seeing patients it’s now down to 10 percent of what they would typically have on an average day.
“Take this seriously. I urge calm, don’t panic there’s no reason for that. The city and state is well prepared, but treat it seriously,” Miller said.
To learn more about the changes taking place at Siouxland Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery, click here.