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Dentist offices say they are struggling to find PPE

Posted May 27, 2020 9:23 p.m. EDT
Updated May 27, 2020 10:19 p.m. EDT

It’s been four weeks since dentist offices were allowed to reopen for regular, non emergency procedures. Some dentist offices are struggling to get supplies and personal protective equipment.

Russo Dentistry closed back in March and reopened on May 4 but with many changes and restrictions.

“I used to have a pretty cool waiting room, now I don’t have one, people wait in their car,” said Dr. Justin Russo of Russo Dentistry.

All staff at Russo Dentistry are required to wear a mask at all times.

Dentists after coronavirus pandemic

“I wear an N-95 mask with a mask on top of that and a face shield with a big gown to cover my entire body,” Russo said.

Patients along with staff are screened and get their temperature checked at the door.

“I don’t want to take the chance, and if you’re not going to be with the program or you feel these extra safety precautions aren’t going to work for you, then we have a problem,” Russo said.

While Russo was able to find enough PPE for his staff, not everyone had the same luck. Due to the lack of PPE at TTH Family Dentistry, they are only taking "emergency" appointments. Dr. Tasha Hinton said she won’t have proper PPE until June or July.

“I’m paying twice and three times the amount that we normally would just cause we’re so desperate," Hinton said. "And it’s frustrating especially because I’m a small practice, it’s just me.”

Hinton's office has some supplies right now. But they have to make sure it lasts until the next shipment.

“I still don’t have enough for me to feel safe seeing patients," Hinton said. "I want to keep everyone safe because I have two young kids and a husband at home. I want to live, and I don’t want to get them sick either."

Russo said it’s not cheap either. Getting the proper supplies for his office are expensive but he understands it’s an investment and, most importantly, it keeps his staff and patients safe.

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