Practicing dentistry during the Covid-19 pandemic

Prince George’s County, Marlyland is not only a center for affluent African Americans, but also for coronavirus cases. The COVID-19 virus has changed life for many, with over 9,000 in the county alone.One dentist , Dr. Richard M. Lipscomb, has also had to change how he does things due to the virus. The Woodmore Dental Center where Lipscomb sees his patients regularly usually has a fully booked schedule, now only emergencies are allowed to come in. “We aren’t allowed to see patients right now due to the order in place by Governor [Larry] Hogan,” Lipscomb said.

“Most emergencies usually have to be numbed before they can be worked on, so I am still able to call in prescriptions for patients facing extreme pain during this time,” he said in regards to how he has been handling some patients. Lipscomb said he has serviced the Woodmore area for over 20 years, and does not pla on letting the coronavirus slow him down.

“We aren’t the only people going through this, so if we continue to social distance a return will follow,” he said about when he expects things to return to normal. The closures put an initial strain on the center’s ability to keep its full staff. Many of the staff members are full time employees who make their living off of the office. “Right now the office is closed, and the staff has been laid off,” Lipscomb said. “I have three kids, and the office being closed has changed our everyday life,” said one of the center’s workers.

The nature of dentistry means that doctors must come into close contact with their patients, particularly in ways that make the spread of the virus more likely. “Most dental work is hands on, so it’s hard helping patients over the phone or video call. However we must adjust just like everyone else,” Lipscomb said. As he waits for his office to reopen, he said he continues to stay prepared and update to keep safe. “We already wear masks when working with patients so that was not a hard adjustment or public areas,” he said.

The Howard University Dental School alumnus not only is a dentist, but also a speaker and writer, as well as a father of three. “One thing positive is I am able to spend more time with my family which is something I’m happy about,” Lipscomb said.

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