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Dental clinics can reopen June 5, but don't book your cleaning just yet

Dr. Ben Davis said all dentists will be able to practice as of next Friday, but they'll still be focused on urgent care
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(stock photo)

This week the province announced the first stage of reopening Nova Scotia's economy.

As of June 5, we will be allowed to dine in a restaurant, get a haircut and head to the gym.

Some health care services can also resume on that date, including dentistry, however it could still be a while before you can book an appointment for your regular cleaning.

With the exception of 8 locations throughout the province providing emergency care -- including traumatic dental injuries, significant infections, prolonged bleeding, or pain that can not be managed by over the counter medications -- dental offices have been shut down since March 20.

Dalhousie University's dean of dentistry, Dr. Ben Davis, said all dentists will be able to practice as of next Friday, but they'll still be focused on urgent care.

"But we've expanded that now with this second phase to also include things like orthodontic wires that are hurting, or dentures that aren't fitting properly, or broken temporary crowns and bridges that need replacement, or facial pain," the oral surgeon told NEWS 95.7's The Sheldon MacLeod Show.

Davis suspects health officials will want to make sure this reopening hasn't resulted in a spike of COVID-19 cases before further easing restrictions.

However, the Provincial Dental Board of Nova Scotia believes if all goes well, all dental procedures could be allowed starting June 19.

Davis said stakeholders are still working out what regulations and guidelines will need to be followed in order to keep both staff and patients safe in the COVID-era.

"There definitely are going to be changes," Davis said. "People will notice right away that this is not what it was like going to the dentist six months ago."

The dental board said new measures could include strict screening protocols, enhanced infection controls and additional PPE requirements.

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