OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – The Oklahoma Board of Dentistry on Friday announced its support of Gov. Kevin Stitt’s three-phase plan to reopen the state’s economy.
A Board of Dentistry news release states that the board will not extend any COVID-19 related restrictions for dental offices or procedures beyond April 30.
“Dentists are highly trained individuals that have treated patients in consideration of precautions for infectious diseases for many many years. All dental personnel are required by law to follow the CDC guidelines for dentistry,” the news release states.
Dental offices are required to notify board members if they experience any positive COVID-19 event.
There have been three reports and investigations concerning COVID-19 in Oklahoma dental offices, but in all three cases, dental staff and subsequent patients treated tested negative for the virus, according to the news release.
“As of today, the Board has received no notifications of a practicing dentist or hygienist testing positive for COVID-19 even after being exposed to a patient that subsequently tested positive,” the news release states.
The board stated in the news release that they disagree with the Oklahoma Association of Dental Hygienists’ recent call to keep dental offices closed until an undetermined date.
The news release states that numerous community members have contacted the Board of Dentistry, complaining about not being able to get treatment because dental offices are closed.
“Anyone that did not have a regular dentist had great difficulty finding someone to treat them for issues that qualified for emergency treatment. The indigent care facilities have all been closed or extremely limited in abilities to treat and people have suffered,” the news release states.
Board members say they will continue making recommendations for additional safety procedures.
Individual dentists and hygienists can choose to not return to work immediately due to personal or other health concerns, the news release states.
“The Board will be working directly with the Interim State Epidemiologist, Dr. Weldelboe, and his staff to assist with contact tracing for any dental office related positive tests should they occur over the next several months,” the news release states.