Wow! We have had the office closed for over six weeks and probably won’t be opening for another three, and even then, it will be at a greatly reduced patient flow. It’s scary and has been a time for reflection about how we can best serve our patients not only during a worldwide pandemic but also going forward. We truly appreciate each and every one of you and are here and available to answer any questions and or address any emergencies you may have during this time.
I’d like to use this blog article to tell you about the big and small things we are doing at our office to increase the safety of our patients as well as our team members. As you all know, dental teams are used to working around infectious diseases and we already have a high standard of infection control protocols in place. In addition to the previous protocols we have put some new items in place.
- The first thing is our new Surgically Clean Air Units. We purchased these units because they are the top of the line option for keeping the air in our office clean. They purify the air within the office every 30 minutes through a 6 stage filtration and sterilization process that removes particles including odors, gases, mold, allergens and viruses. We purchased two units, which is more than enough to address our small office and we also bought smaller filters to help with dead spaces.
- We will be heavily screening patients over the phone and asking them to sign a waiver saying they are symptom free. We ask that you reschedule your appointment if you are feeling under the weather or have been around large groups in the last 7 days.
- Our front office team will continue to disinfect the commonly touched surfaces at a higher frequency than previously.
- We have contracted a HIPAA compliant virtual meeting company to be able to do follow-up appointments and consults virtually!
- In the immediate future, and potentially long term, we will no longer be using our tiny reception area. Patients are asked to stay outside the office, either on the porch or in their car, until they are called or texted that we are ready to bring them back. A team member will meet the patient at the door and bring them straight back to their room. Family members and friends are asked to remain outside. Exceptions will be made for small children or those with special needs.
- We have purchased additional suctioning equipment for our hygienists (we already have them for the dentists!). These units will keep the aerosols created in a cleaning appointment to a minimum as well as help Mandy, Sunni, and Jayne be more efficient with your cleanings.
- A pre-treatment rinse with Oracare will be done before all aerosol creating procedures. This has been shown to be effective at killing coronavirus for up to an hour so even if we are still creating some aerosols, and the patient happens to be a carrier for coronavirus, then the aerosols will have a dramatically decreased amount of viral load and the SCA purifier will be clearing any remainder out every 30 min!
- We will be decreasing the amount of patients we see and increasing the time between the appointments to increase patient distancing and allow for more time to cycle the air. We will also be staggering appointments. The front desk will only be used for checking patients out.
- Our team will be screened for symptoms every morning and will be wearing additional PPE to keep them safe.
We feel confident that these measures plus a few others will keep our patients and team members healthy! We want to make sure our patients feel comfortable coming to their appointments and please don’t hesitate to reach out about any concerns you may have.
Our goal is always to be a leader in our industry and provide the highest quality care possible to our community. This pandemic has given us another opportunity to go above and beyond and care for our patients on another level. We appreciate the trust and loyalty you have given us over the last few years and we can only hope to return that by delivering honest, progressive care to you and your family.
We look forward to seeing you soon!!
Drs. Chelsea and Dave