New Yorkers Can't Afford to Ignore Dental Health

Assemblyman Kevin Byrne (R,C,Ref-Mahopac) is pleased to report that as the Ranking Minority Member of the Assembly's Committee on Health, he joined colleagues led by Assemblywoman Nicole Malliotakis (R,C,I,Ref-Brooklyn, Staten Island) in requesting that Gov. Andrew Cuomo permit dentists to safely reopen their offices and resume their important practice. Due to the governor's NY on PAUSE order in response to COVID-19, offices have only been allowed to perform emergency dentistry.

“Dentists are among the very few medical professionals who have not yet been allowed to care for their patients, except in emergency situations,” said Byrne. “Patients need their dental health needs addressed before those needs do in fact become emergencies. Dentists already have a very high threshold of training before they are able to practice in this state, and with stringent guidelines, their profession maintains some of the highest levels of safety in using personal protective equipment.

According to a recent update on the NYSDA website, "NYSDA is strongly advocating with the Governor and the Department of Health for dental offices to return to full service as quickly as possible. We have communicated our position to both the Governor and the Department of Health, and we will press our argument, not just for the benefit of dentists, but also for the patients they serve."

The American Dental Association (ADA) and the New York State Dental Association (NYSDA) have worked together to prepare a detailed plan for reopening dentist’s offices. This plan has been shared with the New York State Department of Health and could be used as a starting platform for many other businesses awaiting reopening.

“The NY State Dental Association has attested that it has put in place enhanced safety protocols to protect their staff and patients and themselves and are ready to return to work.” said Malliotakis. “These medical professionals can be trusted to use their expertise and discretion to treat patients in need.”

“In following appropriate guidelines already laid out by the American Dental Association and New York State Dental Association there is no reason to suggest these medical professionals are not capable of providing their essential health service in a safe and responsible manner,” said Byrne. “I want to thank my friend and colleague Assemblywoman Malliotakis for her leadership on this issue, and I ask the governor give serious consideration to the merits of this important request.”

A copy of the Assembly letter sent to Governor Andrew Cuomo may be viewed HERE.