Local dentists Dr Charlie Thompson and Dr Caroline Bowman can now get back to work restoring the smiles of local residents following the easing of dental treatment restrictions this week.
Dr Bowman said as of Monday the drop from Level 3 restrictions (imposed by the Federal Government to help prevent the spread of Coronavirus) back to Level 2 will now permit them to carry out dental check-ups, fillings and denture repairs.
For the past month the Cobar practice, like all other dental practices, has been on Level 3 Treatment Restrictions to ensure the virus was not transmitted from a patient to the dentist and then further into the community.
“On Level 3 we could only treat emergency patients in severe pain or someone with a serious problem,” Dr Bowman said.
Since March 27, Dr Thompson and Dr Bowman have only been permitted to treat patients with toothaches, ulcerations, broken teeth and patients who had suffered dental trauma.
“We were limited to temporary fillings and were not able to use a high speed drill as they create aerosols,” she said.
Dr Bowman said they will be able to reinstate more services for their patients following a recommendation last week from the Australian Dental Association (ADA) that it was now safe to ease treatment restrictions back to Level 2.
“Things like a sensitive tooth, we can now fix that before it becomes a big problem,” Dr Bowman said.
“We’ve had to modify some of our treatments in order to protect us and the patient.
“We’ll only be treating low risk patients and each will be asked a series of screening questions prior to attending the surgery.”
Dr Bowman said she was confident that the restrictions had not been lifted too early.
“There’s so few new COVID cases now and the new cases they are finding are not community transmitted,” she said.
ADA president Dr Carmelo Bonanno said dentists have the highest level of infection control standards which is why it makes it viable for them to now work under the Level 2 restrictions.
“While the move to Level 2 restrictions still has limitations, additional treatments will be possible including examinations, fillings and hand scaling.
“People concerned about any oral health issue can call their dentist and they will make an assessment of possible treatment under the eased restrictions,” Dr Bonanno said.