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Dentist offices in Washington expected to reopen Monday

Guidelines developed by the Restarting Washington Healthcare task force are expected to come in the form a proclamation from Gov. Jay Inslee.

SPOKANE, Wash. — Non-urgent dental care is expected to resume at noon on Monday, May 18, in Washington state.

Guidelines developed by the Restarting Washington Healthcare task force are expected to come in the form a proclamation from Gov. Jay Inslee on Monday. 

The Washington State Dental Association released a statement to those practicing dentistry saying it is "imperative that you review these guidelines with your team before providing care."

"While emphasizing the exercise of clinical judgment by dentists, the guidelines are expected to address a variety of considerations such as PPE conservation, patient screening, COVID-19 testing, and delivery processes," the statement reads. 

Health leaders say there is enough personal protective equipment for dental offices to reopen thanks to efforts from the Spokane Regional Health District. 

Heather Gallagher with Access to Baby and Child Dentistry said during a briefing on Monday that people may have longer wait times than normal.

"Given the backlog of patients who are waiting to be seen, it can take a while to get in for your cleaning or checkup," Gallagher said. 

Dentist offices are putting precautions in place to curb the spread of coronavirus, including fewer people in waiting rooms. Some patients may be asked to wait in their cars until their appointments begin. 

Dr. Amir Ganji of Cannon Hill Dental Office in Spokane told KREM last week that his office will reopen on Tuesday.

In order to keep his patients and team safe, Dr. Gangi will perform fewer procedures that create aerosol and has changed his scheduling procedure to ensure that his office is seeing less patients than normal. He also purchased air filters. 

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