KEARNEY, Neb. — The America Dental Association and the Nebraska Dental Association are both encouraging dentist offices to postpone non-emergency or elective dental procedures.
The ADA said non-emergencies include but are not limited to oral exams, cleanings, orthodontic procedures, restorative dentistry, dental procedures and asymptomatic extractions.
Dentist Katherine Goodwin at Kearney Dental Clinic said they chose to close their office to non-emergency appointments because they felt it was in everyone best interest to follow the recommendations.
"Dentistry in general is a really high risk profession when it comes to aerosolized virus," said Goodwin. "It's best for us to keep our staff safe, our selves safe, but most of all keep our patients safe."
"Now that there's a documented case in Hastings, it's hitting a lot closer to home so we want to make sure that patients are safe first," said Heartland Oral Surgery and Dental Implants Dr. Kenny Carey. "The majority of our colleagues are doing the same so we're all together as a dental community trying to play our part in curbing the spread of the virus and protecting patients and our staff most importantly."
"If patents have emergencies, if they're having pain or swelling or dental trauma we recommend they get a hold of a doctor on call and there will always be dentists on call to treat those emergencies during this time," said Goodwin. "We certainly don't want to overwhelm the emergency rooms with dental patients."
As a small business, Goodwin and Carey both said this will be a challenging time financially without being open.
"As a small business we want to expand and be in more places than just Kearney and Grand Island," said Carey. "Some of our goals that we wanted to work on for 2020, we're probably going to have to hold back on. We're going to have to really really look at our expenses just to see where we're at with things. It's going to be a hard time."
Right now, Kearney Dental Clinic and Heartland Oral Surgery and Dental Implants have postponed all non-emergency appointments for the next two weeks but they said they're taking things day by day and it could be longer.
While some dentist offices choose to close, others have not. According to Fort Theatre Dentistry in downtown Kearney, they are staying open with enhanced sanitation measures in place.
According to their Facebook post, they have added more frequent cleaning and sanitizing throughout the office, made hand sanitizer available throughout the office and removed all shared magazines, literature, and toys. They are also modifying their patient schedules to reduce patient-to-patient contact.