VICTORIA -- Dental offices in B.C. won't be reopening Tuesday as part of the second phase of the province's COVID-19 restart plan.

The BC Dental Association says it is still waiting for clear reopening guidelines from provincial health officials.

BCDA spokesperson Dr. Alistair Nicoll says guidelines to protect patients, dentists and dental staff need to be aligned to manage the risk of spreading COVID-19.

On Wednesday, provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry indicated the new guidelines are currently being worked on with regulators, including the College of Dental Surgeons of BC.

Nicoll says when patients begin returning, dental visits will look different.

He says chairs, magazines and kids toys will be removed from waiting rooms, the receptionist will likely be sitting behind a plexiglass screen, and patients will be asked health screening questions.

Only the most urgent dental emergencies are currently being treated in dental offices.

"Due to the widespread shortage of PPE, patients with dental pain, swelling, infection or trauma must first be assessed by their local general practice dentist over the phone," the BCDA said in a statement Thursday. 

"To reduce the risk of transmission, only the most urgent dental cases will be referred to an appropriately equipped dental clinic for treatment."