Nova Scotia

Got a cavity? N.S. dentists to start seeing non-urgent patients on June 19

Nova Scotia dentists will begin seeing patients with non-emergency needs as of June 19, the registrar with the province's dental board said Friday.

'We'll only deal with patients that are screening at low risk,' says dental board registrar

Dentists in Nova Scotia will once again treat urgent cases as of June 5 and will return to performing non-urgent care on June 19, said Dr. Martin Gillis, registrar for the Provincial Dental Board of Nova Scotia. (Adam Berry/Getty Images)

Nova Scotia dentists who take the required public health measures can begin seeing patients with non-emergency needs as of June 19, the registrar with the province's dental board said Friday.

Dentists will resume treating urgent cases beginning June 5, the date the province has set for many businesses to reopen, including hair salons, restaurants and gyms. Dentists have continued to treat some emergencies throughout the pandemic.

Dr. Martin Gillis told CBC's Information Morning that dentists will be busy in the next week making sure safety protocols are in place for offices to welcome more people.

He said screening patients will be the "most important part of this process, so we'll only deal with patients that are screening at low risk."

The number of people allowed in waiting rooms will be limited, and Gillis said patients may need to wait in their vehicles until they can come into the office.

"When they do come into the office, they'll be screened again for risk factors and also symptoms for COVID," he said.

What dentists will be wearing

Dentists will wear different types of personal protective equipment depending on what they're doing, Gillis said.  

"If there is an aerosol-generating procedure performed, there will be an N95 mask, face shields. Dentists will be wearing either gowns or lab coats that would be … basically neck to knee with long sleeves, and their staffs will also be wearing this enhanced PPE," he said. 

Depending on the type of care, dentists may also use dental dams and "high-velocity suction."

"The idea is to limit the aerosol generating droplets that would be in the air ... because this is what creates the COVID transmission," Gillis said.

The province's June 5 reopening date has some businesses scrambling to put safety protocols in place and make sure there's enough personal protective equipment on hand.

On Friday, for the first time since the pandemic started, Nova Scotia reported no new cases of COVID-19. Eighteen cases of the virus are still active in the province.

With files from CBC's Information Morning

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