Press Release: Nearly 60% of Oregon Dentists have Closed Due to State Coronavirus Restrictions. Where Can You Go When You Have a Toothache?
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Nearly 60% of dental practices in Oregon have closed for 90 days due to the state's coronavirus response, according to a recent survey. Where can patients go when they have a toothache?
Smiles Dental and its sister company, Optima Dental Spa are among the significantly reduced number of dental practices that have remained open for emergent and urgent dental appointments while COVID-19 restrictions are in place across 8 cities in Oregon, according to a recent survey by Dental Intelligence, a dental practice analytics provider for dentists to make data-driven decisions that help patients receive better care. Appointments for dental emergencies in Portland, Lake Oswego, Milwaukie, Salem, Lebanon, Eugene, Roseburg and Riddle during the COVID-19 crisis are available online at https://welovesmiles.com or by calling 888-552-6957.
“We are one of the only dental providers remaining open in some of these communities, said Dr. Raymond Frye, CEO and Founder of Smiles Dental and Optima Dental Spa. “These patients might have had no other way to get a dental appointment when they needed it, and they have been very grateful that we have been there to help. We've kept 175 patients out of hospital emergency rooms since the COVID-19 restrictions were announced, and over 40% of these were new patients to us."
The state of Oregon has restricted dental offices from doing non-essential or elective procedures until June 15, but emergency exams and time sensitive treatment is allowed. The US Department of Homeland Security lists dental offices as an essential business during the COVID-19 pandemic, as a means of mitigating negative impacts on hospitals and health services. “We expect to be able to keep up to 1,000 patients out of hospital emergency rooms in April.” Frye said.
The majority of dental practices in Oregon were forced to lay off or furlough most or all employees during COVID-19 restrictions. Smiles Dental and Optima Dental Spa employees were offered the choice of being laid-off or furloughed with no threat of losing their jobs after pandemic restrictions are lifted, or to work at this crucial time. “Every member of our small remaining teams has elected to be here,” said Frye. “They are working out of their own personal resolve to support and assist the community.”
The state of Oregon also asked dental practices to donate all Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) they won’t be using during the COVID-19 restriction period to local hospitals. Smiles Dental and Optima Dental Spa coordinated a massive multi-hospital outreach, donating more than 30,000 surgical masks and gloves to local hospitals and medical care facilities.
Emergency dental services are available by appointment only, and the cost of emergency exams has been lowered to $49 during COVID-19 restrictions to make diagnosis more accessible even for those without insurance and those suffering from income loss.
“Toothaches happen, even during a shelter in place," said Frye, "We are here to help, even if we are not your regular dentist."
Here is a list of where patients can go with a dental emergency in Oregon during COVID-19 restrictions:
Portland: Optima Dental Spa
Lake Oswego: Optima Dental Spa
Milwaukie: Smiles Dental Milwaukie
Salem: Smiles Dental Salem
Lebanon: Smiles Dental Lebanon
Eugene: Smiles Dental Eugene
Roseburg: Smiles Dental Roseburg
Riddle: Smiles Dental Riddle