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Local dentists plan to reopen for regular business Monday

For month and a half, dentists have only been open for emergencies

ROANOKE, Va. – If you’ve been waiting for a chance to get back into a dentist chair, Monday, May 4 may be your lucky day.

Gov. Ralph Northam’s executive order banning non-emergency medical and dental care to help slow the spread of the coronavirus expires at midnight Friday.

Many local dentists plan to reopen for regular business Monday.

“With so many offices, so many practices being closed for almost two months now, some of these elective and non-emergent procedures are going to continue to deteriorate. We’re just so afraid that that’s going to end up costing patients more time, more resources, more money," Lynchburg dentist Dr. Dustin Reynolds said.

Reynolds is one of several local dentists planning to reopen Monday.

“We’ve implemented a lot of additional screening procedures," Reynolds explained. "Obviously, in the waiting room surfaces are being continuously more frequently washed down.”

Hunting Hills Family Dentistry is one of at least three practices in Roanoke that have notified patients the practice will reopen on May 4 too.

“When the patients arrive at the office, we ask them to call the office and we meet them in the parking lot for any necessary paperwork. We take their temperature, we have a pre-screening questionnaire," Hunting Hills Family Dentistry owner Dr. Rich Smith said.

The office will also be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. each day to allow patients to come in when there may not be many other patients.

Smith also echoed Reynolds’ concern about continuing to delay non-emergency dental work.

At Governor Ralph Northam's news conference Wednesday afternoon, Virginia Dental Association President Dr. Elizabeth Reynolds said the association has been working with the governor's office to prepare to reopen.

“We have worked tirelessly over the last month and a half with the governor’s office to address issues like access to PPE, liability for healthcare workers...and on returning to work as quickly and safely as possible," said Reynolds.

Both the Virginia and American Dental Association have released guidelines for reopening.