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Cleveland-Area Dentist Screening Patients For Coronavirus

Beachwood Dental started taking the temperature of patients in response to the coronavirus outbreak. [Jacob Lund / Shutterstock]
Dental hygienist cleans a patient's teeth

A local dentist is taking extra precautions to screen patients for the coronavirus.

Dr. Paul Mikhli, owner of Beachwood Dental, started taking the temperature of people coming in for dental services last week. High fever is one of the symptoms associated with coronavirus.

The goal of adding a temperature check to other standard screenings when people visit the office is the help reduce the spread of the virus as much as possible, Mikhli said.

Dr. Paul Mikhli, owner of Beachwood Dental

“Somebody who has a fever might be feeling fine, but they might be having some kind of viral infection that they are trying to fight,” he said.

He purchased a handful of low-cost ear thermometers after coming back from a dental conference, he said, where coronavirus was a big topic of conversation.

So far none of the patients screened in the office had a higher than normal temperature, he said. His patients are also taking the new procedure in stride. Nobody is complaining about it, he said.

Although Mikhli has not heard of any other dentists who are using temperature checks to screen for coronavirus, the industry as a whole is on alert, he said.

The American Dental Association (ADA) issued guidelines on February 24 to help dentists prevent the transmission of the disease.

The ADA cautioned dentists that patients with coronavirus have reported symptoms such as fever, cough, and shortness of breath.  The group urged dentists to be alert for patients with acute respiratory illness and to give them a disposable surgical face mask to wear.

The guidelines also recommend that dentists set up a room in their office where they can isolate patients who are showing respiratory symptoms.

Mikhli said has no plans to isolate patients in his office.

“If they do have an active fever, I’m probably going to be sending them home,” Mikhli said.

Marlene Harris-Taylor
Marlene is the director of engaged journalism at Ideastream Public Media.