Dentists reopen, but rules still apply
NORTHERN Rivers residents can once again visit their dentist for all routine treatments, as COVID-19 restrictions ease.
With practices ordered to operate for emergencies only in March, Australian Dental Association NSW president Dr Kathleen Matthews said it was comforting that dentists could see patients more generally again.
"Dentists can now safely help patients with treatments such as check-ups, cleaning and fillings," Dr Matthews said.
"But precautions while visiting may still apply and to ensure patient safety, additional COVID-19 patient screening will be offered.
"With more than 17,000 patients in NSW suffering potentially preventable hospitalisations for dental conditions in 2018-19 and with oral health vital to overall wellbeing, we are urging patients to take this opportunity to look after their oral health."
The news came as a relief to long-time Lismore dentist Dr Brendan White, who began offering all routine treatments from his practice, Helms and White Dental, late last week.
"It's going quietly so far, but it's nice to be back to work properly," Dr White said.
"When we were restricted we were really only allowed to take teeth out or do the start of a root canal or smooth out broken teeth, and that was it."
He reiterated how safe it was to visit the dentist.
"Our normal protocols and procedures keep you really safe anyway and with a couple of extra precautions we are taking, it's probably one of the safest places you can come," he said.
Among the new changes, Dr White said patients were now given a mouth wash and asked if they were presenting any COVID-19 symptoms.
"The level one restrictions mean me must adhere to social distancing rules, manage the waiting room so there are no gap and manage the staff," he said.
He urged people to not put off dental appointments, regardless of the pandemic.
While most dental practitioners in NSW have reopened, responses may vary regarding the lifting of restrictions according to local prevalence or COVID-19 hot spots over time.
The ADA NSW's Dental Directory Visit www.adansw.com.au/ded is the best way to find a dentist close to home.