Office Update - COVID-19

Office Update - COVID-19

Office Update – COVID-19

To our family of patients:

We are so excited to open our practice on Tuesday, May 26!  We will be contacting you to reschedule your appointments that were missed while we were closed.  Please do not contact us for the next couple of weeks about your missed appointment as we work through a complicated rescheduling process (unless you have an emergency).  We will be as fair and efficient as possible while keeping your safety in mind.  Our rescheduling process will begin with patients who have been waiting the longest (we closed on 3/18/20).  The goal is to have a short appointment with all patients before we begin to schedule longer appointments for braces on and braces off.  Please read on so you will be prepared for your next visit with us.

What we're doing now to protect you:

First of all, I have been monitoring information from dentists that are already open to see how they are addressing the safety of their patients and team.  One of the most encouraging webinars was from Germany which currently has 80,000 dentists who have been working for the past 6 weeks and noted that not a single patient or team member has been infected with the Covid-19 virus in the dental office.  Remember, our office has been using “Universal Precautions” for 26 years.  “Universal Precautions” were developed during the AIDS Epidemic in the 1980’s and the concept is that you treat every patient as if they are infected with a communicable disease and all instruments and surfaces are disinfected between every patient.  This is why the literature has never documented an infection transmission in an orthodontic office.  Our office is among the cleanest places you will ever visit.

Even with that background, I have been working hard to reopen our office with additional safety measures in place. We are taking a calm and deliberate approach and following government mandates and the advice of our professional associations.  You will notice some changes to our standard operations. These are designed to keep all of our team members and patients safe.

- Our HVAC system has been upgraded with a REME HALO LED whole office air purification system.  It is the only 100% pure ozone-free air purifier on the market.  It kills viruses, bacteria, mold, etc.

- Plastic shields at the front desk have been installed to minimize aerosol transmission.   Hands free hand sanitizer and soap dispensers will be available soon.  Automatic light switches have been installed in the bathrooms.  

- Scheduling more time between patients and staggered appointment scheduling to limit patient numbers in the office.

- Pre-visit health screening of all patients.  You will receive a text the day before your appointment with health-related questions that you will be required to answer when confirming your appointment.  If you or any members of your immediate household have any Covid-19 symptoms, we ask that you reschedule the appointment.

- We request that you thoroughly brush your teeth at home since we have eliminated the tooth brushing station.

- We will be requesting that you check in from your car by text and we will text you when to come in.  Please wear a mask when coming to the office.  We request that only the patient comes in unless they are very young or the parent/guardian feels they need to accompany their child.

- Special procedures for patients entering the office include taking your temperature with a forehead temperature scanner and hand sanitizing as you enter.

- Scheduling your next appointment will be completed by phone at the end of the appointment to minimize your time in the office.

- Credit card payments will be completed electronically by phone to reduce time at the front desk.  Feel free to mail or drop off checks or cash.

- Tele-dentistry: Some appointments, such as some consultations and retainer checks, may be scheduled remotely to minimize unnecessary contact.  We will request all health histories to be submitted electronically to minimize paper being brought into the office.

- Magazines and periodicals, which we cannot sanitize, will not be available but please feel free to bring your own reading materials or listen to your favorite podcast on your mobile device.

Updated disinfecting procedures:

You'll notice that the majority of familiar signs and countertop items have been removed to allow for efficient and effective surface and countertop disinfection early in the morning, during the day, and at the end of the day. Fortunately, the Covid-19 virus is easy to kill with an approved surface disinfectant. All of our counters and surfaces will be completely wiped off and disinfected before and after each patient and at the start and end of every day. All door handles, and frequent touch surfaces will be disinfected frequently and scrupulously.

New safety equipment:

-Aerosol reducers: We have invested in brand-new devices to capture air droplets before they have a chance to spread through the air. These will be attached to our high-speed suction when using the dentist drill to eliminate 90% of the aerosols at the source.  Fortunately, in orthodontics, the need for drilling is much less than in other areas of dentistry.

-Face Shields: In addition to our traditional masks and gloves, we will be wearing face shields for all aerosol producing procedures.

Things may be a bit different than they were before we closed our doors, but rest assured that the one thing that hasn’t changed is our enthusiasm to provide excellent care for our patients and to serve your orthodontic needs.  Our processes may be different but the outcomes will be the same – beautiful and healthy smiles! Our team looks forward to seeing you again soon.  Thank you for your patience as we work through these new systems with the goal to keep you and our team safe and healthy.

Sincerely,

Dr. Mark McDonough & Team