Updated: Mar 22, 2021
Whew, what a last couple months it’s been. It’s been an unprecedented and somewhat eerie time, but hopefully you have taken this unexpected slowdown and have been able to...well, slow down.
I have been fortunate to spend quality time with my preschool-aged children. I have prepared and consumed more home-cooked meals than ever before and I even read five novels in the past 8 weeks (I hadn’t read five novels in the past five years!). While I’ve enjoyed my time at home, I’m also looking forward to returning to routine patient care and back to life “as we know it.”
It appears though, that simply proceeding with patient care as before will not be prudent. I have used this down time with my team to establish our “new normal” which includes the following measures to ensure your safety the next time you’re in the office:
a. All employees and patients will be screened each workday. They will be asked a series of questions related to any symptoms they may be experiencing as they relate to COVID-19 as well as taking a temperature reading. In the event any employee or patient displays symptoms of illness, they will be asked to go home to minimize risk to others. Additionally, any employee or patient who has members in their household who are feeling sick will be asked to stay home.
b. We ask all patients and employees to wear a mask or face covering. Those who do not have one will be given one before entering the office.
c. Patients will receive all necessary forms electronically, including a COVID-19 screening questionnaire, and return via email prior to appointment.
d. No visitors will be permitted. Exceptions will be made for parents/guardian of young children or caregivers for patients who require one.
e. When you arrive at the office for your appointment, we ask that you wait in your car. Please announce your arrival by calling the office. When it is time to come inside to check in, we will text you.
f. Upon entry, patient’s temperature will be taken with a contactless thermometer. Patients exhibiting fever will be dismissed and rescheduled.
g. When your provider brings you back to your operatory, we will ask you to rinse with hydrogen peroxide for 60 seconds prior to starting treatment.
Additionally, when you come to our office, you’ll notice changes have been made to further ensure everyone’s safety. Some of these modifications include:
1. Implementation of infrared touchless thermometers for patient and staff screening 2. Installation of touchless water faucets to minimize the spread of microbes 3. Installation of touchless soap dispenser and hand sanitizer units, conveniently placed in high-traffic areas 4. Installation of medical-grade Molekule air purification units with patented PECO technology 5. Installation of Isodry systems to remove aerosols during hygiene appointments 6. Implementation of pre-procedural antimicrobial rinse (1.5% H2O2) for patients 7. Re-engineering of doors for hands-free entry 8. EPA-registered disinfectants approved to kill coronavirus and 44 other disease-causing microorganisms 9. Implementation of PPE protocol for team members to minimize spread of germs between home and office
We have systems already in place that we will continue to use such as: 1. On-site laundry to minimize handling of contaminated linens 2. Regular water-shock treatment therapy to decontaminate water lines 3. Plastic barriers to cover difficult to clean exposed surfaces in the operatory 4. Plastic barriers on trays and plastic sleeves on air/water delivery units 5. Disposable protective coverings for all patient comfort items (headphones, neck pillows) 6. Removal of PPE by team members before going into common areas (restroom, lobby) 7. The use of dental dam and Isodry evacuation system during dental procedures to reduce aerosols
Is all of the above mandated? NO. But that’s another way Smiletheory goes #beyonddentistry.
From its inception, Smiletheory has practiced standard precautions to prevent the spread of infection. With the additional modifications listed above, I am confident that we can deliver dental care in a safe manner. Remember, routine dental care is one of the best ways to maintain good overall health.
We look forward to seeing you and your smile again soon!
As always, we love to hear from our patients. If you have any questions, please reach out to us!