Day: May 22, 2020

Charlotte dentist with child patients needs masks, PPE

After nearly 30 years as a Charlotte-area pediatric dentist, focusing on children with severe heart defects and other complex conditions, Dr. Meg Lochary long ago accepted the extra risks that come with their care.

But she’s still trying to comprehend how, in the midst of a pandemic, she’s reduced to protecting her young patients and herself by wearing a painter’s face mask donated by a sympathetic neighbor.

The gold standard in her profession are N95 respirator masks, but those are so scarce that Lochary says she has enough to safely practice for only two more weeks. That raises the stakes for patients who often can’t wait for treatment.

Many of Lochary’s child patients can’t have medical procedures, such as cardiac catheterizations, until they first get dental care to avoid infecting their cardiac tissue with bacteria from their mouths.

Medically compromised children generally have higher risks of dental decay because of

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Next COVID-19 challenge? Reopening America’s dentist offices

As dental offices reopen for routine care across the country — services like teeth cleanings are now allowed in 42 states — it’s not exactly business as usual for dentists and dental hygienists who mostly shut down in March as the pandemic hit. 

While the rules of reopening vary state by state, dental offices providing more than emergency care were violating guidelines set by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Occupational Health and Safety Administration. On Thursday, the CDC updated its guidelines and is no longer recommending that non-emergency dental care be postponed.

But because those guidelines aren’t mandatory, dentists are looking to their state guidelines for the greenlight to reopen.

“There have been some concerns raised by many of our members, as to why are we not listening to the CDC and postponing this care?” asked Matt Crespin, president of the American Dental Hygienists’ Association,

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