Dentists unable to treat patients after Pennsylvania’s new COVID-19 mandate

The coronavirus pandemic is forcing dentists across our region to close and turn away patients.

The incoming president of the state’s dental association, Dr. James Tauberg, said the new mandate requires every dentist office to have a negative pressure room — to help filter the air and limit the spread of COVID-19.

Have questions about the spread of the coronavirus? We have an entire section dedicated to coverage of the outbreak. CLICK HERE for more.

However, he told Channel 11 those are rare.

“No dental facilities that I’m aware of in the state of Pennsylvania that includes the dental schools, the emergency departments, dental offices have negative pressure rooms – they simply don’t exist,” said Tauberg.

The mandate also requires dental personnel to use N95 masks, which are experiencing a shortage across the country.

Without either, dentists are unable to see their patients — who are now forced to go to the emergency room to get treated. And Tauberg said that is the last place you should go unless it’s “life-threatening.”

For now, many dentists can only prescribe medication for their patients.

Tauberg told Channel 11 he is speaking with the state’s health department Thursday to try to compromise on a new mandate so dentists can provide needed care for their patients again.