We are scheduled to reopen our practice at 11 AM on May 18th and I wanted to talk to you about safety and infection control in the office. Dentistry is a toxic profession (think mercury, increased risk of pulmonary fibrosis by 22 times) and the transmission of COVID19 via aerosols is a risk we do not take lightly. We recognize that we serve a patient population with varying approaches to COVID19 from immune boosting to being seriously immunocompromised, in fact, several of our staff members have immunocompromised family members, so we are taking a cautious approach to infection control. Although we have the protective equipment in place (prior to COVID19), it is exciting to see the progression of dentistry where traditional dentists are beginning to be open to some of the protective equipment. I want to assure you that our office is one of the safest offices you could choose and run you through what we do to ensure your safety and the safety of our team members.
- Limiting the number of patients in our practice-we operate at 25% capacity and ask that people do not bring guests to their appointments unless a necessary caretaker or a child can have one guardian with them at their appointment.
- Preventing patients from sitting in the waiting room-we ask that you call/text the office when you arrive for your appointment. We will call/text you when it is time to enter. This will prevent patients from running into each other.
- Temperature upon entry-We will take your temperature when you enter. If your temperature is above 99 degrees, we will ask you to reschedule your appointment. We are waiting for a pulse oximeter machine to take pulse oximetry readings as well.
- Hand hygiene-we ask that you wash your hands or use hand sanitizer upon entry to the office.
- Ozone rinsing-when you enter the operatory, we ask that you rinse with an ozonated water mouthrinse to decrease oral viral load. We offer hydrogen peroxide rinses as an alternative.
- Extraoral Suction-we use a Dental Air Vac (dentalairvac.com) when performing aerosol-generating procedures.
- New gowns-we have invested in reusable gowns so that we can wear a new coat for every patient so there is no cross contamination.
- Masks-we have invested in many types of masks for staff to wear while treating patients (as no person’s face size and shape is the same). We continue to wear our p100 respirators during aerosol generating procedures-we used to wear them only during mercury removals. We would prefer if patients are able to wear masks to their appointments, but a majority of dentistry happens without being able to wear a mask, so we have staff members wear masks.
- Face Shields-We have face shields that we wear during patient care.
- Decluttering-We have decluttered the office to that we can clean between patients. We are lucky to have wireless keyboards and mice.
- Negative Pressure Air-This should probably be listed first. In our HVAC system, we have individual room evacuators that pull the air out and pump it outside the building. So if aerosols are floating around, the would be evacuated from the building.
- Sterilization procedures-It should go without saying that we sterilize everything in our office. We want you to feel safe, we love taking care of patients and making a dental experience as safe and comfortable as possible.
- Air quality-we run air filters/dehumidifiers 24/7 in the practice to get as good of air quality as possible.