How are dentists preparing to reopen in less than two weeks

Posted at 6:25 PM, May 21, 2020

AMHERST, N.Y. (WKBW) — Dr. Michael Lamastra is preparing for the day Maple Dental in Amherst can fully reopen, a day that could be less than two weeks away.

“The governor hasn't specifically mentioned when dentists will come back. We think we're in Phase Two. They talked about licensed professionals in Phase Two, but he hasn't specifically mentioned dentists,” said Dr. Lamastra.

After nearly 40 years as a dentist, Dr. Lamastra said he's seen just about everything.

“We've dealt with hepatitis, SARS, we've dealt with TB, we've dealt with herpes and now we have to deal with this. We've done all these things. We're used to doing this. We are trained. We went to school for 8 years. We are doctors,” Dr. Lamastra said.

The longer dentists' offices remain closed, the more serious situations become.

“We are not going to be able to diagnose these things. Things are going to go on and people are going to wait. They're going to put off their visit because they think they should be afraid. They really shouldn't be afraid because we know how to handle this,” Dr. Lamastra said.

Dr. Lamastra said in addition to ordering all of the proper PPE, like face shields and isolation gowns, he's been listening to webinars and following guidelines to best ready the office.

“I've ordered new windows that open so they'll be installed next week,” he said.

He's also placed air filters throughout the office and in the furnace. The biggest concern are the aerosols that spray into the air when they use specific tools.

“But according to recent studies they've done, if you have an assistant with high speed suction, it will take out up to 90% of the aerosols,” Dr. Lamastra said.

He will also be limiting the amount of people in his office by having patients wait for their appointment in the car and he will take patients temperatures. These are all new rules in order to get patients back in the chair safely.