Local Dentist Navigates Pandemic as Practice Reopens

When Dr. Matthew Ginsburg reopened his St. James Avenue dentistry practice for emergency visits as part of Phase 1 of Gov. Charlie Baker’s plan for the Commonwealth, he had most of the safety precautions to combat the spread of COVID-19 already in place.

“Nearly 90 percent of what we usually do has remained unchanged,” he said. “Generally dentists have always been excellent at infection control. We’re trained in it from Day One of dental school.”

For instance, covering one’s face might not come as second nature to many, but for the Commonwealth’s 6,000 dentists, it was already status quo.

“For me after 20 years in the practice of dentistry, we’ve always worn masks so it’s no problem,” he said.

One major change, though, is the layout of Dr. Ginsburg’s waiting room where tape is now used to cordon off separate areas for patients.

“We have minimized seating in the waiting room, even though we usually didn’t have people there for very long,” he said. “Only patients with their parents or guardians are allowed inside whereas we used to allow more people in the waiting room.”

His office has a new protocol to screen patients for symptoms of COVID-19 as well.

“To comply with current standards, we’re requesting face covering and hand sanitizer be used, or that patients wash hands upon entering the office,” Dr. Ginsburg said.  “We’re also taking their temperatures and requesting that people who feel unwell reschedule [their appointments].”

Dr. Ginsburg notified his patients of this new protocol via email, and while under state guidelines, he was able to resume offering patients routine and cleaning appointments on June 8, he is waiting until June 15 as yet another added precaution during these unprecedented times.

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