Your health and safety have always been our #1 priority and COVID-19 has only deepened our commitment to you.
Our office adheres to the stringent procedures outlined in the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Guidelines for Infection Control in Dental Healthcare Settings. The thorough and rigorous cleaning, sterilization, and disinfection of all instruments and surfaces are routine and second nature to us, as they are throughout dentistry – precautions that make dental offices highly uncommon sources of disease transmission. We would like to explain the many steps we always follow to keep you, and ourselves, safe, including the additional precautions we have implemented specifically to address COVID-19.
How We Sanitize Exam and Treatment Rooms: Before you enter the rooms, all surfaces have been cleaned and disinfected, including the dental chair, light, drawer handles and countertops. Any protective covers that are necessary are replaced as well. The chemicals we use to perform this are professional-grade and designed specifically for clinical environments. The products we use are EPA-registered disinfectants specific for use against SARS-COV-2. We also wash our hands frequently and, as always, before seeing a patient.
How We Sanitize Instruments: Our non-disposable items like handpieces (commonly known as drills) and other instruments, are carefully cleaned and sterilized in a designated area of our practice using hospital grade equipment. We use precision tools like an ultrasonic bath for cleaning and high temperature autoclaves to sterilize. We regularly use tests and indicators to monitor these processes, and visually inspect instruments at each step. Once again, cleaners, detergents and other chemicals used are designed specifically for clinical use.
How We Use Disposable Items: We use as many disposable items as possible, such as needles, masks and gloves. After each patient, disposable items are carefully discarded according to current guidelines and all members of the treatment team thoroughly wash their hands.
How We Are Responding to COVID-19: We are taking extra precautions to prevent the spread of COVID-19 including:
· Cleaning our office using products from the EPA’s list of registered surface disinfectants for use against COVID-19.
· Carefully following all national, state and local guidelines, including the CDC’s specific recommendations for our care providers to use Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) like masks and respirators (like N95), face shields, gloves and gowns.
· Having patients perform a pre-procedural mouth rinse to reduce the oral microbial load.
· Pre-screening patients and not treating anyone with a fever, cough or other symptoms of a respiratory illness.
· Everyone (patients, staff, and visitors) in the office will wear a mask unless they are receiving treatment.
· Screening all staff in the mornings and taking their temperature. Staff members will not be allowed to work if they are experiencing any respiratory symptoms or fever.
· Taking extra care to eliminate and regularly wipe down common touchpoints like door handles.
· Streamlining our procedures for check-in, removing unnecessary items from our reception area, asking patients to come alone to their appointments, and making accommodations for patients with parents or caregivers to have a social distancing appropriate space to wait in if they are unable to wait in their car.
· Staggering patient appointments to limit interactions between patients.
How We Are Protecting Ourselves: The safety of our dental team is very important so we have recently upgraded some of the PPE we use in our office to align with the CDC’s new guidelines such as adding face shields, gowns and more protective masks or respirators (like N95) to the usual PPE we already wore. We also are using High Volume Evacuators (suction) during hygiene appointments. We have purchased a device called a Releaf that sits in the patient’s mouth to reduce the production of aerosols. In addition, curtains have been added to patient rooms as well as having an individual HEPA air purifier in each operatory to reduce aerosols.
Like you, we have family and loved ones that rely on us, so working safely is extremely important to us.
How We Are Welcoming You Back:
· You will notice some changes in advance of your next appointment. We will be calling you to remind you of your appointment and inform you of our new check-in procedures. On that call, we can also answer any questions you may have. We will take your temperature and screen you in person for symptoms prior to your appointment. While these steps are inconvenient, they are necessary to ensure we are doing everything we can to protect all of our patients as well as our team.
Dental care is a vital part of staying healthy and helps prevent minor issues from progressing into painful, complex, and expensive conditions. Please rest assured that our office is likely one of the most thoroughly cleaned and disinfected environments you can possibly be in.