Dentists' offices make adjustments to reopen after COVID-19 lockdown

Dental offices are adopting new health and safety practices as they prepare to reopen post-shutdown.

Dentist Sivan Finkel gave FOX 5 NY a tour of the new changes at his practice on the East Side. He says that when patients enter, they now need to wear masks, hand sanitizer is immediately available and their temperature will be taken.

"The waiting room is no longer a place for people to sit and wait, it's really more of a reception area where we minimize the amount of people at any given time," Finkel said.

Dentists across the nation are following CDC guidelines that are not mandated but recommended. They include air purifiers, new tools, and ultraviolet lamps. 

"We're making sure to space out the schedule so that we have even more time in between patients to disinfect every surface, sterilize the room, let the air be purified," Dr. Finkel said. "I have suction units that will be wheeled around, they are going to be in each room and they aggressively suction the air from in front of the patient's face."

According to Doctor Mitchell Weiner, the president of the New Jersey Dental Association, dentists will be treating patients while wearing masks, a face shield, and disposable gowns that change with every patient.

Dr. Weiner says dentists don't have to reinvent the wheel because of COVID-19. They made major changes during the aids crisis in the 1980s.

"Dentistry itself has been at the forefront of infection control since the '80s. What we know, to date, according to the CDC is that there has not been one transmission cluster that has been associated with a dental practice in the United States since the virus landed," Dr. Weiner said.

However, Dr. Weiner did say that the added expense of PPE for the staff will most likely mean the cost of the patient's bill will be going up.


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