Some local dentist offices remain open, hoping to avoid strain on hospitals | FOX 4 Kansas City WDAF-TV

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The American Dental Association has instructed dentist’s offices to remain closed through the end of April in most cases as part of the effort to slow the transmission of COVID-19.

But some dentist’s offices are opening their doors under certain circumstances for the very same reason.

Statistics show Americans go to hospitals once every 14 seconds for dental problems, or more than 2 million times annually.

“My main goal in being open at this time is to make sure we play a role in the health industry and kind of help prevent the clogging up of our emergency rooms,” Parkville Modern Dentistry’s Dr. Matthew Yip said.

Parkville Modern Dentistry looks a little different than it did a month ago. You won’t find people in for routine cleanings and regular checkups right now.

But that doesn’t mean Yip isn’t staying busy.

“We actually have been getting a few more calls lately because there have been people that have emergencies, and they are having a little harder time finding someone that is open and available to them,” Yip said.

Yip is still extracting teeth and responding to true dental emergencies. First he’s using video conferencing, or tele-dentistry, to see if the patient really needs urgent care.

“Sometimes a patient may have a seasonal allergy that might cause their teeth to ache because of the sinuses located above their teeth. Sometimes we are able to recognize that just from talking to them when they are experiencing this symptoms,” Yip said.

His office is taking every precaution it can, including wearing N95 masks, face shields, disposable gowns and sterilizing everywhere.

But he said he has a responsibility to stay open for these procedures because if he and at least some others don’t, he knows where the patients will end up.

Parkville Modern Dentistry is one of 800 Pacific Dental Services offices nationwide remaining open during the coronavirus pandemic for certain procedures. The offices have helped launch #DentalER, urging patients to stay out of hospital ERs and go to their dentists for dental emergencies.

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