The government's announcement that restrictions on dental clinics would be eased has been welcomed by local practices.
The Australian Dental Association was placed under level three restrictions in March, meaning dentists could no longer treat patients for issues such as chipped teeth, bleeding or sore gums, dentures, crown and bridge issues or jaw problems.
But following a meeting from the National Cabinet, the Prime Minister announced an easing of restrictions on dentists to level two from Monday, April 27.
Level two restrictions relate to the "provision of dental treatments that are unlikely to generate aerosols or where aerosols generated have the presence of minimal saliva/blood due to the use of rubber dam".
This means that dentists can perform more wide-ranging procedures again such as denture procedures and non-surgical extractions, examinations and simple fillings.
Dubbo dentist, Dr Bruce Gray leads the team at Wingewarra Dental and provide services to patients from across western NSW.
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Dr Gray said the COVID-19 virus impacted the local practice when the level three restrictions commenced, with all of their forward bookings having to be put on hold.
While the practice remained open under normal trading hours during level three, he and the three other dentists rotated their rosters.
But since the easing of restrictions, he and the team have developed a number of transitional strategies, such as the rubber dam protection which will isolate the patient's tooth.
"We have to be extra careful, so we're carrying out procedures which don't generate an aerosol which might be contaminated by the patient's saliva," Dr Gray explained.
The local dentist said Dubbo and the entire Western NSW region was very fortunate in regards to minimal coronavirus cases.
As of 10am Monday, April 27, there have been a total of 45 people diagnosed with COVID-19 in western NSW, this number has remained stable since April 6.
"But we still need to be vigilant, we still need to embrace what the government is asking us to do and embrace level two," Dr Gray said.
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While restrictions on procedures have eased, Wingewarra Dental will continue adhering to the social distancing and safety rules.
Patients, visitors and couriers have to be let in, temperatures checked, the 1.5 metre rule followed and they also have to answer a number of questions relating to COVID-19.
"Like a lot of practices, we've taken the chairs out of the waiting room and signs in the office where people can stand," Dr Gray explained.
"But patients are very compliant and happy to do this because they realise it's to their benefit."
Dr Gray praised his dentist colleagues across Dubbo who have all embraced the protocols.
"The provision of dental services in Dubbo through the crisis thus far have been undertaken with of adherence to the government's protocols,' he said.
"We think dental professions are playing its part in Dubbo across the board and as we transition to level two and eventually to level one we'll all be looking for positive outcomes and a healthy community."
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