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Dentist implements new safety precautions days before reopening

Posted at 4:42 PM, May 22, 2020

EAST LANSING, Mich. — Lauren Hall Tate, owner of East Lansing Dental said customers should anticipate stricter safety regulations as she gears up to reopen.

Her dental office hasn't been open in two months because of the governor's stay-at-home order.

Now, the governor said non-essential dental and medical services can resume on May 29, although Tate won't be open for customers until June 3.

"We're going to take those first two days to make sure everything is clean. Make sure the water lines are clean because they haven't been used in two months and we just want to make sure as much as possible is ready," she said.

Tate said she has already done a deep cleaning of the office.

Tate is buying products that will reduce the possibility of germs spreading in each patient room.

She said aerosol transmission of COVID-19 is a big concern for dentists.

She said, "Aerosol is the biggest situation or issue with dentists. That aerosol with the mist of the water and the virus flying around in the air."

In order to reduce the risk of aerosol transmission, Tate has purchased tools to catch flying water droplets.

"I even ordered an aerosol capturing device but everything is on backorder right now."

Because the tools she needs to keep safe won't be delivered on time for her reopening she is going to cut down on the number of fillings she'll perform.

She said using the drill causes a lot of aerosol movement, along with water.

Customers will also be experiencing a different kind of teeth cleaning.

Tate said, "Instead of stirring up the air with the rotary handpiece to polish they might be getting a polish with a gauze square with the pumice material."

In order to reduce bacteria patients will be receiving extra rinsing.

Tate said, "All the patients will be getting a pre-procedure rinse and they may also get a rinse in the middle of their procedure and after their procedure to cut down on the bacteria and the virus that might be in the saliva."

Patients will also be required to wear a mask inside of Tate's office.

They will also not be allowed in the waiting room.

All patients will have to wait outside in their cars and communicate with the dental office through phone or text.

Tate said her hours will be changing to keep up with daily cleaning.

She is typically open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m and will now be opening at 9 a.m. and closing around 4 p.m.

She said the cleaning is very in-depth.

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