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Woodinville dentist reconnects with patients after reopening practice

Under new guidelines, dentist offices can reopen with restrictions. But business could depend on whether patients feel comfortable again.

WOODINVILLE, Wash. — With new guidelines allowing Washington dentist offices to reopen during coronavirus recovery, dentists themselves are finding it a good time to reconnect with their patients.

"I just hope everyone has been taking care of their teeth!" said Dr. Rama Oskouian of Woodinville Pediatric Dentistry.

Oskouian created an emotional post on Instagram when she learned her offices were forced to close and she would no longer have contact with her child patients. 

"No more hugs and no more high fives," she said with tears in her eyes.

RELATED: Dentist offices institute PPE fees to combat re-opening costs

Now that she's allowed to reopen with restrictions, she says her time with the children is even more special.

"I'm just so happy to see so many smiling faces," she said. "There are changes, but we will still be able to serve the community."

Changes include all staff wearing face guards and gloves at all times, along with taking the temperature of everyone who enters the business.

Oskouian, along with other dentists, are following guidance from the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Dental Hygienists Association.

RELATED: All Washington health care services can resume with safety plan in place

A recent ADA survey of 17,000 dentists found that by early April, more than nine of 10 dentists said their patient volume was 10% or less of normal, and just under half had stopped paying their employees. Nearly 20% of dentists said they had concerns about sustaining their dental practices if current restrictions are kept in place until the end of June, according to the survey.

A survey in April by the North American Dental Group, which operates 230 dental offices nationwide, found that 71% of respondents were uncomfortable going to the dentist for a "non-time sensitive" dental procedure.