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The New Zealand Dental Association (NZDA) is reassuring patients that they are safe to book dental treatment under Level 2 restrictions from tomorrow, but advises people to phone ahead, instead of simply turning up at clinics.

Triaging questions need to be answered over the phone before patients are permitted to attend in person.

NZDA President Dr Katie Ayers says reducing infection risk thorough highly effective infection prevention control measures is ingrained for dentists.

“Dentists always have infection prevention and control measures in place and are highly trained in this.

“Doing this is not new for us. As a profession we can draw on a long history of mandated standards in this area.

“We are entirely used to wearing masks, gloves, gowns and having fully compliant safety measures in place.”

However, Dr Ayers says that there will also be additional measures in place at Level 2.

“Patients will see hand sanitiser in waiting rooms and should expect to be separated from other patients by a distance of 2 metres. At-risk patients, particularly those over 70 years of age or who are immune-compromised, will have to wait in areas away from the main waiting room and be escorted directly to the dental chair.

“Our members are delighted to be heading back to work to assist thousands of Kiwis each day.

“This move beyond providing only emergency dental, which was the only care permitted under levels 3 and 4, is crucial to prevent problems worsening.

“I know for many of our members, not being able to assist with clinical dentistry, when their patients were in pain was a distressing situation,” says Dr Ayers.

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