As Kentucky started to gradually reopen some health centers Monday, many dental offices prepared to welcome patients once again.
But not all of them are opening their doors as they wait for more personal protective equipment.
Dr. John Thompson, president of the Northern Kentucky Dental Society, knows the future will look different for dentists, dental hygienists and patients alike.
“Not a lot of dentists will have patients in their waiting rooms,” he said.
Instead, many offices will now have virtual lobbies where you’ll call ahead of time.
To Thompson, finding out dental offices would be reopening in the Bluegrass state Monday came as a surprise.
“I think everyone was pretty caught off guard by that. It wasn’t what we expected. As a result people are trying to get their ducks in a row to prepare for seeing patients in our offices,” he said.
That’s why his practice, Thompson Family Dental, is currently closed. Many practices chose to give healthcare workers their personal protective equipment back when the pandemic was front and center.
“We’ve all tried to give back somewhat, and as a result we need to replenish,” he said. “And that’s okay.”
Now, Thompson’s practice has an order of N-95 masks and face shields on the way.
“Dentists in the area that I’ve talked to are being conscientious about being sure we’re doing things the right way. When we do open, it’ll be a safe environment for people to come back. They should be able to feel comfortable,” he said.
That means changes are coming, including more folks wearing masks and more protective equipment.
“We’ll get back to what we’re doing once we can, and once we can do it in the right way," he said.
Thompson says he expects to be open within the next week or two. They’re using this time to make sure staff have been trained on new protocols being put in place.