Dental office staying open during pandemic helps save woman’s life


LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) — Not all dental offices have shut its doors following the governor’s orders to stop non-essential dental procedures. Some offices remain open to help with the overflow of patients at hospital emergency rooms.

Kathy Bennett needs to have heart surgery, but in order to get that surgery she first needs to be seen by a dentist and finding one in the middle of a pandemic wasn’t easy.

“It’s frustrating and it’s scary,” Bennett said. “I don’t know how many times I was told no, sorry we can’t help you. We are only seeing emergencies and I’m like isn’t this an emergency.”

Bennett said because of a heart condition she needs to have a triple bypass and a valve replacement.

“Infection travels through mucus membrane and those are all in your mouth and everything so in order to get all that taken care of so we have no more infection,” Bennett said. “I have to have the dental work done before I have the surgery. If I don’t have the surgery, I said I’m a walking heart attack and literally that’s what I am.”

After making about six calls to dental offices that turned her away, Bennett found a dentist in Lansing, Dr. Flint, who has an office in Lansing that can see her on Monday, but that’s not the only dental office open in mid-Michigan for emergencies. My Community Dental Centers is also open.

My Community Dental Centers CEO Deborah Brown said, “The procedures that we will do right now would include extraction of a tooth, temporary filings.”

My community dental centers now has 16 offices open across the state.

Brown said, “They’re already worrying about their jobs, some people are laid off, some people have family members who are sick with coronavirus so if they have dental pain that’s one more thing that they have to worry about and hopefully we can lessen that be being available to them during this crisis.”

There are this many people in the community that care about other people is really heartwarming,” Bennett said.

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