Local dentist talks pandemic precautions

FAYETTEVILLE, WV (WOAY) – Throughout the pandemic, we’ve been told to keep our mouths covered, but what happens when your profession requires you to take a look inside of them? 

We spoke with Dr. Bruce Cassis from Cassis Dental Center in Fayetteville about the precautions in the dentistry industry and why he feels confident it is one of the safest.

“There’s only two places that I feel absolutely safe. First is here in the dental office because I know what kind of infection control procedures we go through, and the only other place I feel safe is my home,” Dr. Cassis said. 

Nowadays, a visit to the dentist with Dr. Cassis begins in the new waiting room known as the parking lot.

There, patients will go through a phone screening before coming in. As soon as they walk in, they will get their temperature taken and then they will be asked to wash their hands and use a mouthwash to prepare for their appointment.

These precautions are why longtime Fayetteville dentist Dr Cassis says dentist offices have proven themselves to be one of the safest. 

“To date, you can’t find any recorded evidence of a trace of transmission of COVID in a dental office, just doesn’t exist of the cases that have been reported, so I kind of feel like we’re doing a great job with infection control,” he said. 

Because the work of the dentist is of course centered around the mouth, Dr. Cassis says they’ve been practicing strong infection control since the 1980s, and so now they’ve just improved upon those practices.

Dr. Cassis has been a dentist in Fayette County for 40 years and says when the shut down happened, the future was full of uncertainty, but he used that time out of the office to focus on best practices for a safe reopen.

He was appointed to the state’s Board of Dentistry committee for reopening and did the same thing for the National Academy of General Dentistry where he will soon take his post as president.

As he guides dentist offices across the country through the challenges of staying safe and staying stocked of PPE, his says his main obligation is keeping his patients and staff safe, and so far, so good. 

“As an essential healthcare provider, when patients express that reassurance that they’re happy with you, with your team, with the faculty, there’s not a better feeling in the world,” he said.  

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Anna Saunders is a weekend reporter for WOAY. With a diploma from Princeton Senior High School and a mother from Fayette County, she is no stranger to the area. She received a degree in Media Arts and Design from James Madison University in Harrisonburg, Virginia and wanted to return home to start her career as a reporter.