The BC Dental Association (BCDA) says dental offices will not be returning to regular practice on May 19.

The notice, posted on the association’s website, comes after B.C. announced the province’s restart plan on May 6.

Phase 2, due to start after the May long weekend, does include the restoration of medical services dentistry, physiotherapy, registered massage therapy, chiropractors.

READ MORE: Dentists, physiotherapists set to reopen from mid-May to early June

According to the association, many patients assumed dental offices would reopen fully on May 19.

“However, as the premier and Provincial Health Officer, Dr. Bonnie Henry, confirmed in media briefings May 13, WorkSafeBC and public health officials have begun to develop guidelines for various sectors, including
dentistry, to extend services – but they have not been published yet,” the association said in a statement.

“As we can all appreciate, the guidelines to protect patients, dentists and dental staff need to be aligned
based on the epidemiology of managing the risk of COVID-19 in BC.”

The BCDA said full dental services, including hygiene care, will be introduced gradually and when it is safe to do so. According to the association, plans for BC will consider the different circumstances in various areas, including access to required personal protective equipment (PPE).

The BCDA also said in its statement that Henry said on May 13 that new guidelines are being worked on with regulators, including the College of Dental Surgeons of BC. 

“Dental teams are experts at infection control and dentists want to ensure their practices are appropriately set up to comply with physical distancing and other particular requirements to reduce the transmission of COVID-19,” BCDA spokesperson, Dr. Alastair Nicoll said in a statement.

“Dental offices have been limited to teledentistry and emergency care since March 23. When the public health orders change, and patients begin returning to dental offices, the dental visit will look different. For example, chairs, magazines and toys will be removed from waiting rooms, and the receptionist may be sitting behind a plexiglass screen. Patients will also be asked different health screening questions when making their appointment and on the day of their appointment; and asked to clean their hands before and after their appointment. These and other changes will be communicated by your dental office once the new guidelines are published.”

Nicoll said dental patients can contact their dentists with questions but until there is further direction from Henry and the College of Dental Surgenous of BC, dentists will only continue to do urgent and emergency services.

On March 23, the province recommended that all dental offices suspend non-emergency care due to COVID-19.

A day later, Henry confirmed that the self-isolation period for attendees of the Pacific Dental Conference is over. The conference at the Vancouver Convention Centre March 5-7 was the centre of a coronavirus outbreak

 

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