New York dentists spend thousands to reopen despite unclear timeline from state

Some New York dentists may spend up to $30,000 preparing to reopen, though they still don't know when they will be allowed to resume routine care, according to Syracuse.com.

"The No. 1 frustration from the dental community is the lack of information from the state," said Steven Stacey, DDS, president of New York's Fifth District Dental Society.

Other medical professionals have been allowed to resume non-urgent care, but the state Department of Health said there isn't a timeline for dentists yet, according to a May 26 statement emailed to Syracuse.com.

"Given the potential vector of transmission due to aerosolized saliva, the state wants to ensure that appropriate safeguards are established and adhered to," the statement reads.

Tansy Schoonmaker, DDS, a New York-based pediatric dentist, estimates office upgrades and additional personal protective equipment will cost her and her partner $30,000. They've installed room-by-room filtration systems and will replace plastic tubing for each patient receiving nitrous oxide. The dentist is awaiting word on when the office will be able to reopen.

"The ice cream stores are open and the beaches are opening in New York, but dentists aren't allowed to," Dr. Schoonmaker said.

The New York State Dental Association urged Gov. Andrew Cuomo last week to let dentists resume full practice.

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