HONOLULU (KHON2) — The Hawaii Dental Association and The Hawaii Dental Hygiene Association are both recommending that all dentists in the state to close their offices immediately.
“I think its a precaution that’s necessary at this point, so that we can flatten the curve,” said Lisa Forbes, Hawaii Dental Hygiene Association president.
Forbes said cleanings and check-ups will have to wait, but emergencies will still be handled.
“If you do have a dental emergency, we are going to be there for you, and we’re going to treat you as best we can. But we do ask that, you know, for cleanings and things… [that] can hold off for a little bit,” said Forbes.
She said part of the reason for the closure is not only to keep dental professionals safe, but also to help hospitals with supplies. Forbes said dental offices can provide gowns, masks and gloves.
That’s exactly what the Hawaii Health Department said will be needed.
“There’s been a shortage of some supplies in some areas across the country and across the world. We’re finding shortages of personal protective equipment.”Dr. Bruce Anderson, Hawaii Department of Health director.
“We assume this problem is going to be a lot worse before it gets better, and we do need to be sure that we’re using the resources we have wisely,” said Anderson.
Dentists handling emergencies also benefit hospitals.
In a statement, the Hawaii Dental Association said:
“Concentrating on emergency dental care will allow dentists to care for emergency patients and alleviate the burden that dental emergencies would place on hospital emergency departments.”Hawaii Dental Association
The Hawaii Dental Hygiene Association is recommending dental offices close for at least 3 weeks, and then they say they will re-evaluate the situation then.
They say if you have questions or concerns you should contact your dentist directly.