I am Rina Campbell, endodontist and owner of NorCal Endodontics in the East Bay of San Francisco.
When the COVID19 pandemic unfolded in mid-March, dental offices in our area started closing in compliance with the state and government recommendations.
All routine dental care in the region was suspended. We really did not know what was going to happen. Amidst the explosion of information available online and through social media, it was difficult to identify reliable research evidence and guidance to approach the COVID19-related dental cases. At the same time the need for emergency dental care was critical. It was a time of great uncertainty. Should we close the office completely? We were really scared of the virus, like everyone else.
I knew firsthand of the difficult situation in the largest hospital network as my husband is a physician and updated me on the conditions at the hospital and the overwhelmed ICU.
As the days went by, I realized that there was a role we had to play. Many patients in pain had nowhere to go. They needed urgent care. I felt the moral duty to serve the community, to help the most vulnerable, and to relieve their pain. Moreover, it was a way to help reduce the influx of patients to the local emergency rooms already burden with the increasing number of COVID-19 patients.
My team was feeling the same way. So we gathered ourselves, mentally, and emotionally and developed a plan. We equipped ourselves with the appropriate PPE to keep us and our patients safe. The patients were triaged over the phone to ensure that only true emergency cases were seen. One patient at the time, we performed temperature checks, clinical evaluations, etc. And together, we treated emergency patients on a daily basis.
As the weeks passed, we experienced a surge in emergency calls. Local dentists, referring partners and patients were reaching out for emergency endodontic care. Patients came from neighboring cities as far as two hours away to get care. They were really desperate and scared. They all had something in common – they felt their lives had completely changed and had to face the new reality and consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic.
This was a roller coaster ride!! We will never forget this challenging time. It was a moment of coming together. A moment that reminds us to support each other, and to think WE instead of ME.
We are very thankful we were in the position to serve the community during this difficult period. We are grateful for the amazing referring partners that we work with.
We are confident in the bright future ahead. Let’s always keep our eyes on the big picture!! Because the sun always shines after a storm.