GREENSBORO, N.C. — May have wondered about dental offices during the coronavirus outbreak.

Should they stay open?

The state has the final say so and so far no mandate, but many have shut down to be safe.

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Offices such as Friendly Dentistry in Greensboro are only seeing patients with dental emergencies.

They’ve canceled all non-emergency appointments.

Staffing has been cut down to about 30 members, and they’ve gone from seeing about 80 patients a day to no more than a dozen.

“We’re having patients park in our parking lot and call us,” said dentist at Friendly Dentistry Guy Ribando. “We’re going out to the parking lot to take their temperature. We’re using a questionnaire to screen them for signs and symptoms of COVID- 19.”

Ribando said ignoring dental emergencies could lead to a much bigger problem, even death if not properly cared for.

“Our goal is to keep people out of emergency rooms because it’s not a safe place to go if you don’t have a medical need and they can’t cure you of a dental need or infection anyway so you need the dentist,” Ribando said.

The North Carolina Dental Board is encouraging dentists to continue their emergency care to keep from adding stress to hospitals and emergency rooms.

While the Dental Board believes emergency care needs to be done, they recommend regular appointments be stopped at this time.

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