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