As we all continue to practice more and more social distancing, most medical and dental offices are closed. But some medical procedures are timely and still need to continue to happen.
Eastman Dental is working on a way to do that safely.
Anna drives four hours every week back and forth from Syracuse to the Eastman Dental Center in Rochester. The pediatric dentists there are treating her four-month-old son Elijah, who was born with a cleft lip and palate.
He'll soon get corrective surgery, but to get him ready for that surgery he needs to wear a Nasoalveolar Molding Device or NAM. It needs to be adjusted every week.
"Using the NAM has made a big difference for Elijah's health now and we can already see how it's going to make a big difference for years to come. He's had a much easier time with eating and self-soothing. Even beyond that it'll make his first surgery much easier and his recovery will go a lot better," said Anna, Elijah's mother.
Dr. Erin Shope says Elijah's case is one of many that is time-sensitive.
She says she's glad they've come up with a way to continue treating these patients while keeping everyone safe.
"I was really trying to think creatively and outside of the box on how to continue to provide this service in a very safe manner that requires little interaction, good social distancing for these families. And the families are very thankful and very happy that we're able to continue to do this," said Dr. Shope.
Eastman Dental is the only center outside New York City offering the NAM devices. Dr. Shope says the early care these children are getting now, even during the challenging coronavirus restrictions will lead to fewer surgeries and good outcomes in the future.