Michigan dentists urge governor to resume routine care, cite potential public health crisis

Hundreds of Michigan dentists are urging Gov. Gretchen Whitmer to reopen dental offices for routine care, arguing that putting off such care could result in a public health crisis, according to local NBC affiliate WOOD-TV.

The governor's executive order allows for urgent dental care only, but many dentists are growing concerned that prohibiting routine care for an extended time will allow minor dental issues to become painful and costly medical emergencies.

"There’s such a big gap between urgent and emergent care in dentistry and what is elective, and that is where I see a public health crisis right now, occurring in that gap," Seth Vruggink, DDS, told the station. "You’re talking about patients with gum disease who needed maintenance visits who are actively losing bone right now. That bone does not come back."

At a May 1 news conference, the governor affirmed the state's decision to ban dental offices from providing routine care.

"At this point, we know that the COVID-19 is spread through the mouth, and that’s what dentistry is all about," she said, noting that her husband is a dentist. "And so we’re not releasing that at this juncture."

Pleas to lift the ban on nonemergency dental care come alongside a May 12 lawsuit filed against the governor by three healthcare organizations and a patient seeking the restoration of nonessential medical care.

More articles on dental:
Dental oncologist leads National Guard coronavirus testing in Massachusetts
'Dentistry can feel really lonely': How Aspen Dental supported a Florida dentist through the pandemic
Dental assistant is 2nd hardest-hit job in Washington amid pandemic

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