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Texas dental offices permitted to reopen May 1 with fewer restrictions

Posted at 10:51 PM, May 01, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-01 23:51:57-04

KILLEEN, TX — Up until Friday, dental offices could only perform emergency procedures, and that left a number of patients waiting to continue active treatment.

When Bev DeSalvo chipped her tooth, she needed immediate care.

"That was painful," said DeSalvo. "But it would have gotten much worse if I had waited."

Even during the coronavirus pandemic, her dentist, Dr. Michael Harris with Killeen Dental Group, was there when she needed him most.

"I felt very safe there. Everyone, they wore masks. They wore gloves. Everything was very clean, and there was no one else in the office," explained DeSalvo.

In an effort to stop the spread of COVID-19, dental offices across Texas have only been open for emergencies. However, beginning May 1, dentists can do more procedures with fewer restrictions.

Governor Greg Abbott has decided to permit certain hygiene procedures to be performed. However, dental health care personnel are moving cautiously.

"A lot of the things we do produce aerosols," said Harris. "And this bacteria or this virus is transmitted through aerosols, and so our staff will be covered head to toe. You know from their hair to their feet and everything in our office will be, will be covered with barriers."

He said it is done in an effort to ensure the safety of everyone who stops by.

"I think the patients, when they come to these offices, now can feel confident that they're safe with all the different precautions that are being taken,." said Harris.

The team at Killeen Dental Group will begin easing into full service dental procedures next week. All staff and patients will constantly be pre-screened for COVID-19.

According to the Texas State Board of Dental Examiners emergency rule, before dental treatment even begins, each dental office has to create COVID-19 procedures and train all dental health care personnel regarding those procedures.