PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — One local dental office has been closed for more than one month and is fielding emergencies by phone.
“We’ve been handling emergency care with increased precautions to prevent the spread of infection,” says Dr. Steven Crandall, a dentist at South Hills Dental Arts.READ MORE: Pittsburgh Police Investigating Shooting In Homewood
While he’s excited about the possibility of reopening, he admits it will be a lot different.
Before you come, you’ll be screened.
“We’re going to be asking a list of screening questions to see if they have any signs or symptoms congruent with COVID. And if so, we are going to recommend that they reschedule their appointment a few weeks away,” Crandall said.
You’ll be asked to wait in your car.
“We’ve taken everything out of our waiting room. So there’s no magazines, there’s no newspaper, there’s no coffee maker, there’s no remote controls,” Crandall said.
And you may not see much staff.
“We’ve actually had to lay off all of our employees,” Crandall said.
The dentists will also look different when they come out to meet you.READ MORE: 'Unity In The Community' Event Held In Greensburg
“[Profession dental organization guidelines] are now recommending face shields, better masks, possibly goggles, head covers, and gowns in certain situations,” says Dr. Crandall. “We are paying five or six dollars per mask when we used to pay $.25-$.30 apiece for an N95 type mask.”
And the equipment will be different.
A new negative pressure machine will capture any aerosols missed by the suction.
And instead of patients in several rooms at once, Crandall says it will be down to one room.
Check out will be similar to the grocery store.
“Knobs are going to have to be cleaned, pens are going to have to be cleaned. We have plastic barriers that are going to be in front of the receptionists,” Crandall said.
Even with all these changes, Dr. Crandall is not nervous.
“I feel as though our universal precautions have been very effective,” he said. “And there have been some pretty serious diseases we’ve been trying to avoid, with hepatitis and AIDS, and we have been very successful with that.”MORE NEWS: Community Liver Alliance Hosts 'Walk The Talk For Liver Health' 5K At Kennywood Park
Dr. Crandall says the AIDS era brought about many of the protective procedures that have been in place. He expects some of the changes the coronavirus era brings will stay as well.