The majority of dentists in Washington — 75 percent — have closed as a result of the state’s stay home order. Of course, toothaches and other dental problems persist. To prevent people from seeking out help at an emergency room for dental care, Smiles Dental and its sister company, Optimal Dental Spa, have chosen to remain open for emergency dental appointments in nine Washington cities. These include Gig Harbor, Lacey, Bellevue, Camas, and more.
“We are one of the only dental providers open in some of these communities,” said Dr. Raymond Frye, CEO and founder of Smiles Dental and Optima Dental Spa. “We’ve kept 175 patients out of hospital emergency rooms since the COVID-19 restrictions were announced in March, and more than 40 percent of these were new patients to us. These patients might have had no other way to get a dental appointment when they needed it, and they have been very grateful that we have been there to help.”
Non-essential and elective procedures are suspended until May 18. Dental offices, however, are listed as essential businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic by the Department of Homeland Security, largely as a means of preventing patients in need of emergency care from seeking it out at a hospital.
“We expect to be able to keep up to 1,000 patients across these 9 cities out of hospital emergency rooms in April.” Frye said. “We are here to help, even if we are not your regular dentist.”
Additionally, Smiles Dental and Optima Dental Spa coordinated a massive donation of more than 30,000 surgical masks and other PPE to local hospitals. Every member of the small staff has elected to continue working “out of their own personal resolve to support and assist the community,” Frye said.
The cost of emergency exams has been lowered to $49 for the course of COVID-19 restrictions to make care accessible to all, including those without insurance. Appointments can be made online at welovesmiles.com or by calling 888-552-6957.