As dentists throughout the state prepare to reopen, that doesn’t mean all of them are willing to reopen.
Dental and Laser Aesthetics in Strongsville announced the office will remain closed until June 1.
Dr. Chris Theodorou said he made the decision to protect his staff and patients.
“I decided to hold off and open June 1. There’s a lot of protocol and changes to the dental office,” he said. “Patient flow, equipment, a lot of things that we have to implement and I don’t want to rush into implementing things just to open on May 1.”
While other dentists struggle to acquire personal protective equipment, Theodorou said thankfully, that’s not an issue at his practice.
His team will be wearing double gloves, N-95 masks, face shields and appropriate PPE attire.
But he said there’s a lot of other protocols they’re working out.
“The main concern is social distancing," Theodorou said. "How are we going to be able to keep our patients from running into each other?”
He said patient appointments will have to be rescheduled or adjusted to maintain social distancing and stagger appointments to make sure too many people aren’t in the office at the same time.
He said the waiting room will no longer be a waiting room. Patients will be waiting in their cars to come in and their medical forms should be filled out online before they come in.
They are installing glass at the front desk and adding air purifiers.
Theodorou said they’ve bought wireless credit card machines to allow patients to check out in the treatment room.
“We’ve taken it a step further, getting our technology into place involving our IT people to be able to help us in that new norm transition which means everything is going to be in the operation room now,” he said.
He said while, yes, it’s taken time and money, he'd rather be safe than sorry.
“I had to access some funds that I had aside for a rainy day, obviously, surgical air units and putting up glass and securing PPE isn't inexpensive,” he said. “You got to reach deep and do whatever you can, whether it's a line of credit or emergency credit you have on the side, I accessed whatever I could.”
His practice is still treating dental emergencies during this time.