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Hygienist concerned about spread from dental re-openings

Posted at 5:52 PM, Apr 29, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-29 20:04:17-04

OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) — Some dental professionals are concerned about re-opening dentist offices that come in close contact with people.

The ban on elective surgeries ends on Monday, May 4 so Governor Pete Ricketts says they’re allowed to open back up.

Each practice is allowed to make their own decision but if they do open staff is required to wear face shields and head covers, screen patients, keep them away from each other, and have more thorough disinfecting procedures.

Jenny Wilkins has been a dental hygienist for more than 12 years. She’s concerned about protecting patients because the spray of blood and saliva make aerosols that can linger in a room where people are sitting with their mouth’s open.

“How do we protect everybody in the office setting because we can sanitize and sterilize our equipment, our surfaces, but if there is potentially infected respiratory secretions flying around the room, any patient, any provider that walks into that room is potentially inhaling and breathing those contaminated particles,” Wilkins explained.

Wilkins says people can help themselves; brush twice a day, floss, and avoid sugar to keep your teeth healthy.