CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD) – Dentists here in the Lowcountry are taking extra steps to keep you and their staff safe during the pandemic. They’re an extremely close-contact business and that is creating new challenges as for how they go about handling clients moving forward.

The team at Smiling Oak Dentistry in Mount Pleasant closed their doors to clients back in March. Staff used the time in between to create ideas as to how to effectively re-open their doors safely. Now when you head to the office, it’s a new experience.

Patients are now seen in their cars in the parking lot prior to entering the building. This is where clients must go through a screening process or health check. Once cleared, it’s a direct trip into the dentist’s chair. There’s no more waiting in the waiting room. All staff now wear personal protective equipment and are gowning up for procedures they weren’t dressing for three months ago.

“You know we might arrive in scrubs, but we don’t leave with the same clothes,” said Doctor Jeff Gardner at Smiling Oak Dentistry. “For my facility, I purchased a washer and dryer so all of our laundry stays on site now.”

As businesses begin to reopen, Dr. Gardner said right now his biggest concern is that he feels dentists are being overlooked when it comes to personal protective equipment.

“Dentistry would in general like a voice in determining how the P.P.E. in this state, who has access to it and how it’s being dispersed,” said Gardner.

Dr. Gardner said he entirely understands why personal protective equipment is being distributed first and foremost to health care workers, however, he said he too needs to keep his staff and his patients safe and healthy.

To learn more about Smiling Oak Dentistry, click here.