As many of you have heard at today's Maine CDC Daily Update and Press Conference, Commissioner Lambrew made an important announcement regarding Dental Practices in Maine preparing to re-open to routine care. Here is the transcript of the question and the response:
Question from Joe Lawlor, Reporter with the Portland Press Herald:
There has been, as you know, a lot of complaints from dentists about not having a date to re-open for routine care. Is there any progress on that front? Most state have either re-opened or will be reopening very shortly.
Commissioner Lambrew: On the question about dental services, we at the Department care as much about dental services as all other health care services. We know that oral health is critical to people's mental health, physical health and just their well being. With that in mind, we have continued to look at guidance. The US Center for Disease Control and Prevention had on April 27th continued to recommend that people postpone all but non-urgent dental care. We have been persistent in trying to ask if that guidance was going to be updated. Today, the director of the US CDC said that the CDC will be updating that guidance on dental services. As such, Maine Department of Health and Human Services looks forward to that guidance. If that guidance hasn't been issued by Monday, May 18th the department will defer to the American Dental Association and the Maine Dental Association's guidance on that topic.
I would underscore though and your story highlighted some of these stories we have heard them as well. From the beginning, Governor Mills, the Department, Dr. Shah, and I have urged people, if you have an urgent need for dental or mental health or physical health care, get that care because that was never shut down during the emergency. Some of the stories that we are hearing about today that is urgent care, so we do not want people to wait. If you have a tooth ache, you have an abscess, you have a cracked tooth you should see your dentist because that type of care is open today.
The MDA has a meeting tomorrow with Commissioner Lambrew, her staff, and the Maine Board of Dental Practice. We will continue to seek clarity about the specific guidelines dentists in Maine will need to follow. Absent any updated US CDC recommendations, the Department will defer to the
ADA Return to Work Toolkit
and the MDA's guidance. The Maine Board of Dental Practice meets Friday, May 15th.
Stay tuned for more details.
In closing, Angela and I want to take a moment to thank every single one of you that signed the petition, shared it with family, friends and patients, contacted legislators, emailed the Governor and the Commissioner and more! Your advocacy made a huge difference and together we are on the right path forward to getting back to our patients and provided the care they deserve.