As dental practice pivots from emergency care only, return to normalcy becomes priority

Elective procedures allowed to resume Monday in Florida

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Under phase one of Gov. Ron DeSantis’ plan to reopen Florida, elective procedures will be allowed to resume Monday.

“A lot of people wouldn’t have thought of it this way, prior to this virus, but most of what we do in dentistry, especially in general dentistry, is considered elective. Even though it is important, it’s considered elective because of most of what we do is not emergency," said Andrew Zerbinopoulos, D.M.D., with Point Meadows Dentistry.

Zerbinopoulos has been busy, getting his practice ready for patients as begins to reopen.

“For the last several weeks, we have been mainly seeing patients that call in pain or have swelling," he said.

Zerbinopoulos said less than 10% of procedures within general dentistry are considered an emergency treatment.

“The vast majority of what we do is fixing teeth, but the patient might not necessarily be in pain, so that’s where it comes in to be elective -- cavities, broken teeth, crowns, making someone dentures. The more emergency-related things would be if the patient is in pain, root canals, extractions if the patient has infection. Then we’re taking care of all of those," Zerbinopoulos said. "Those are the things that we have been doing over the past few weeks.”

As the practice pivots from emergency care only, a return to normalcy becomes a priority.

“With that being said, there are several new protocols and procedures we are putting into place to keep everyone as safe as we possibly can," Zerbinopoulos said. "We’re allowing more time for each appointment, we are keeping patients in our waiting room to a minimum, keeping everyone physically distanced so that people are not passing people in the hallways, not sitting close to one another in the waiting room.”

Zerbinopoulos will be wearing a shield and a mask, but he admitted it has been tough securing an abundance of personal protective equipment.

“Sometimes dentistry is put on the back burner, so we are using all the methods that we possibly can to get the equipment that we need to take care of our operations," Zerbinopoulos said. “We are a little bit of a lower priority than the hospitals right now and each office is a smaller organization than some of the larger medical facilities, so we are doing the best we can to get what we can, as quickly as we can.”

As the state begins to reopen, Zerbinopoulos is asking his patients to pack patience.

Point Meadows Dentistry is accepting new patients. To schedule an appointment, visit www.pmdentistry.com or call 904-373-4777.

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