CORONAVIIRUS: Springfield dentist’s office prepares to reopen with help from a 17-year-old

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

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North Spring Dental using mask fitters

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

A Springfield dentist’s office is preparing to reopen with the help of a 17-year-old who is using a 3D printer to make face-mask fitters.

Gov. Mike DeWine announced on April 27 that dental services were allowed to reopen on May 1 if a safe environment could be established. This was included in phase one of Ohio’s Responsible RestartOhio plan.

Dr. Afshan Ahmed, owner of North Spring Dental, said her practice is planning a soft reopening this week “because of the PPE shortages that are nationally being found.”

She explained that she ordered personal protective equipment, PPE, the day DeWine instructed them to close and still has not received the N95 respirator masks. The N95 respirators are recommended by the Ohio Department of Health.

“Stuff is starting to trickle in,” Ahmed said. “We are doing additional measures to keep our patients and staff safe with gowns and different types of masks.”

Ahmed’s staff will be wearing surgical masks with mask fitters attached to them, for now.

The mask fitter, 3D printed by Amaan Ahmed, a Springfield 17-year-old, is used to create a seal around the regular surgical masks to make the masks safer for patients and dental professionals.

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When Amaan heard that his aunt was having trouble finding PPE for her dental practice, he said he wanted to help. They found an app, Bellus3D, that provides a 3D face scanning system.

The app scans a person’s face and generates the dimensions needed for a mask fitter, Amaan said. He was able to convert the file and began printing mask fitters for her office.

With the help of his siblings and cousin, Amaan said he decided to begin selling the mask fitters at www.secureyourmask.com.

To print a mask fitter, it usually takes about three hours, Amaan said. He is charging $16 for the material and time.

Prior to making the mask fitters, Amaan said he made around 150 face mask extenders for doctors and nurses at Springfield Regional Medical Center.

“I am just willing to help anyone else in the area,” Amaan said. “If they need anything, I am willing to do it.”

Ahmed likes having the additional piece of equipment for her office.

“There’s such a high need for this right now and it’s something that can be cleaned with cold sterilization and can be reused” Ahmed said. It helps me feel like I’m just adding an extra piece to protect myself as I’m working on patients.”

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Additional precautionary procedures that the dentist office is taking includes changing the work-flow of patients coming in and out of the office, Ahmed said.

Patients will be encouraged to wear a mask, wash their hands upon arrival and come in one door and leave through a different door, Ahmed said.

She said she is planning to reduce the number of patients treated in a day and will slowly increase that number as PPE begins to replenish.

“One of things that I am really excited about, they’re not here yet, but we will have surgically clean air purifiers,” Ahmed said.

The air purifiers will circulate the air at a high frequency to keep the air clean, Ahmed said.

She said she never really thought about air purification before the pandemic, but the more she researched - she realized it would be a good investment for long-term health.

The precautionary procedures and the mask fitters will help ensure a safe environment, Ahmed said.

“We’re doing whatever we can in unusual circumstances to stay safe,” Dr. Ahmed said.

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