“I’ve never seen anything like this before,” Dr. Grant Hinze said about the COVID-19 pandemic.

It is unprecedented for dental offices to be closed for general cleanings and procedures. But, now it is required by state law for dental offices to be closed, except for emergency procedures, to help slow the spread of COVID-19.

Gov. Pete Ricketts and Two Rivers Public Health enacted a directed health measure for Phelps County on Tuesday, March 31, that is in effect until May 11. Under these rules, dental offices can only serve emergency cases until that time.

Dr. Hinze said emergencies may include a broken tooth that leaves a jagged sore-causing edge, an infected tooth or severe tooth pain.

“Usually pain is the most common motivator,” Dr. Hinze said. “If the pain is unbearable, call our office.”

Dr. Hinze and his staff have been serving patients during the pandemic who have needed root canals and emergency fillings or extractions.

Before coming into the office for emergency procedures, patients are asked several questions over the phone, including if they have traveled out of the country or state recently or if they have been exposed to the COVID-19 virus. Once patients are cleared to come into the office, they will have their temperature taken before any procedures are performed.

Dr. Hinze said he and his staff are wearing N-95 masks covered with disposable masks to extend the life of the masks that are in high demand. They are also taking other precautions because it is difficult to maintain social distancing when performing dental work.

For patients who need braces adjusted, Dr. Hinze is working with each individual on a case-by-case basis to possibly extend the time frame between visits. A few patients have been able to send photographs to Dr. Hinze to talk through an issue rather than visit the office.

Dr. Hinze will be learning more about telehealth dental visits in an upcoming training, and that may soon be an option for some patients.

While this is a difficult time, Dr. Hinze said he and Kay continue to pray for protection and strength for all of their patients.

“If you are in pain or swelling or in trauma, give us a call,” Dr. Hinze said. “We will get something worked out.”

Contact Grant Hinze DDS at (308) 995-5331.