Woodlawn dentist stays open for emergencies during coronavirus pandemic

CHICAGO (WLS) -- With a fractured tooth, one South Shore resident couldn't wait.

"By this weekend, extreme pain. I was extremely uncomfortable," said Kortney Mims.

Mims got her temperature checked and found careful safety protocol at My Dental Gallery, including a device that limits contact during dental procedures.

"That reduces the aerosol by 90%, and we have our regular PPE to protect us from whatever comes out of the patient's mouth," said Dr. Ogbonna Bowden from My Dental Gallery.

"I'm just very grateful they could get me in and take care of me at such a crazy time," Mims said. "I have a huge smile underneath this mask I'm so happy and I'm so relieved."

Bowden closed his three dental offices but is seeing patients with dental emergencies at his Woodlawn office on63rd Street.

"It's natural, if you have pain, natural you would go to the ER, but we don't front line workers dealing with dental emergencies when pandemic is going on," Bowden said.

Bowden says those with dental emergencies coming to an ER would likely not get treatment for the dental problem, only pain meds to address symptoms.

While Bowden does his part to help those in pain, his business struggles with 90% fewer patients. He is now using personal reserves to keep staff on part-time and pay for their health insurance.

"I may have to cash in 401K, whatever is needed to make sure everyone is okay and this business still stands in this community is everything to me," Bowden said.

Applications for local and federal money have been submitted, so for now, Bowden is doing what he can for patients and staff.
Copyright © 2020 WLS-TV. All Rights Reserved.