Letter: Dentist offices will pose risks to patients and staff – Opinion – The Columbus Dispatch

I am writing out of concern for Gov. Mike DeWine’s decision, announced on Monday, to allow dentist offices to go full speed ahead. From a health standpoint, this is incredibly irresponsible.

For over two months we have listened to all of the dangers of this elusive and deadly pandemic to now suddenly announce it’s OK to ask dental hygienists to work inside a possibly asymptomatic patient’s wide-open mouth for 45 minutes while only being about 6 inches away is ridiculous.

It’s a known health fact that the spread of COVID-19 is by air droplets that can stay in the air for up to three hours, which means the next three to four patients will be breathing the potentially deadly germs the previous patient exhaled since they were not wearing masks. Is this worth the risks just to get a nonemergency teeth cleaning or whitening?

Many people get their teeth cleaned every six months, so some might have missed one appointment while dental offices have been closed, which is not a life-or-death matter. The governor’s protocols of wearing masks, social distancing and putting up partitions cannot be applied to typical dentistry.

Dental hygienists usually don’t have access to all of the protective equipment doctors in hospitals have (who can now perform elective surgeries), so they should not be grouped in the same proclamation from the governor.

The governor now allows elective surgeries to reduce a patient’s pain or life-altering health condition, which I applaud, but teeth cleaning and whitening does not fall into these categories.

To allow these nonemergency dental procedures to proceed while not even knowing when a decision will be made for it to be OK to get a haircut is totally irresponsible! Let’s get Ohioans tested first!

Larry Pogue, Blacklick

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