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Dentist offices open May 1 with hopes to decrease emergency room visits

Governor Ralph Northam announced dental offices will be open for business with guidelines in place.

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. — Some Hampton Roads dental offices will be opening up again for procedures other than emergency visits. 

"I’m announcing that elective surgery and dental procedures can resume when the public order expires at midnight tomorrow night," Governor Ralph Northam said on Wednesday. 

Dr. Mary Lewis is prepared for her patients to come in.

"Just today I was able to procure those masks and normally we would have called the Monday patients and said, 'Don’t come in.' But now that we have that equipment, we’re ready to go," said Lewis. 

Oral surgeon Dr. Scott Goodove explained the opening will help the backlog of patients needing care.

“And with dental, a lot of this stuff the longer it goes without being treated, they turn into emergencies. So with opening up, it’s going to help keep a lot of people out of the ER," said Goodove. 

Patients will see some changes in their next visit to dental offices. 

“We’re going to have people maybe wait in their vehicles, bring them in one at a time so they're not sitting together in a reception area," said Lewis. 

“If we’re doing a procedure what the ADA is recommending is that we wear an N-95 or some type of mask similar to that which is the standard as well as a face shield that will protect our staff from any spray," said Goodove. 

While some dentists will open their doors right away on May 1, 2020, others have said they will wait until they are able to get the proper equipment before reopening.

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