Some Tulsa Dentists Plan Slow Approach To Opening For Non-Emergencies

Monday, April 27th 2020, 6:01 pm

TULSA, Oklahoma -

In just a few days restaurants, salons and gyms can start to reopen in Tulsa, as long as they follow physical distancing guidelines.

Dental offices can also open for regular procedures beginning May 1. But some dental hygienists said that is too soon.

Many dentist offices are not open on Fridays, so some said they will begin their slow approaches to reopening starting next Monday, May 4.

At Atlanta Place Dentistry, CEO Michael Jelsing said the goal is to keep patients out of the waiting room.

"We're going to go out, meet you with some hand sanitizer. Hopefully you already have a mask that you're using, and then we're going to let you know when we're ready for you,” Jelsing said.

Jelsing works with several dentists in the Tulsa area. He said they will not be providing any regular teeth cleanings next week.

"Our hygienists are not going to be coming back, at least for the first week,” he said.

The Oklahoma Board of Dentistry said it won't be extending any restrictions beyond April 30th, saying in a statement, "Dentists are highly trained individuals that have treated patients in consideration of precautions for infectious diseases for many years."

The Oklahoma Dental Hygienists Association said non-emergency dental work should still be postponed, adding in a statement, "opening too soon will deplete already limited PPE resources."

At. Dr. J Bracken Finnell's office near 15th and Peoria, he said one hygienist is eager to get back to work, and they have plenty of PPE. Patients will call when they are in the parking lot, have their temperature taken at the door, and sign a form asking several questions.

Both Finnell and Jelsing, who don't work together, said they do not want full schedules right away.

"We just don't want to rush into it. It doesn't make sense to rush into it. So, we want to take this thing one step at a time,” Jelsing said.