Confusion, frustration among dentists for safer at home phase

Posted at 9:40 PM, Apr 27, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-28 00:28:11-04

COLORADO SPRINGS — The Governor's "Safer at Home" phase began Monday with a few changes to businesses allowed to reopen.

Elective dental procedures are among the changes that began- but not without some conflicting messages from state agencies over the weekend.

It began with an email sent out Friday from the state's Department of Regulatory Agencies (DORA) causing confusion and concern for some local dental practices.

The email, sent out to dental license holders in the state, said "this is not a green light to immediately resume business as usual on Monday, April 27th." For some dental providers, it meant calling patients to cancel appointments initially set up for Monday.

DORA's email also said dentists would learn more about elective procedures no later than April 27th, Monday's date. On Sunday, the Governor released a detailed executive order, saying elective procedures can begin again.

Dr. Andrea D'Addario with the Rocky Mountain Pediatric Dentistry ended up canceling the elective appointments scheduled for Monday. Since they expected an answer on Monday, the dentistry also changed their hours to open later and accommodate for any announcement that may be made.

"It's just been a lot of back and forth," said D'Addario, who's also spent the last few weeks making sure her staff had the protective gear necessary in the event they would be able to perform the procedures again.

Orthodontist John Bailey in Colorado Springs scheduled his appointments, and canceled them over the confusion.

"I think the hard thing is that our patients and the general public they were kind of getting one message and we were getting another," said Bailey, who plans to start seeing patients again later this week.

DORA says they understand the frustration with multiple sources giving out information during the pandemic.

"[the email] was an effort to just reinforce to them that we wanted them to wait for that appropriate guidance," said Jill Sarmo, Dir. of Communications for DORA, "we are really endeavoring to tighten up that messaging and ensure that there is very clear guidance moving forward," Sarmo, who reiterated dentists also need to follow thier local jurisdictions rules when it comes to the changes.

Sarmo says moving forward, licensees should go to the newly created page on the state's website for guidance on what to do for their sector.