This post is the first in the series of three posts that are meant to answer the question, “Should I cancel my dentist appointment?”
As the clinic has been closed since mid-March, I’ve had a lot of time on my hands to make the improvements needed to prepare for a safe return for everyone.
Because infection control protocols prepare us to be vigilant in handling viruses and bacteria, much of how we prepare for your appointment has not changed—we have and will always disinfect the operatories before and after each visit, we are vigilant during appointments not to cross-contaminate our supplies and instruments, and we sterilize our instruments after every use.
In response to the covid-19 pandemic, I have added some processes to the clinic to make it safer for staff and patients.
As far as exposure control measures, a washer/dryer unit was installed and UV Sterilization systems were installed into our existing HVAC units. Additionally, performance tests were conducted on the office’s air quality and I installed exhaust units to make the clinic a negative pressure environment. We have new electronic processes for our patient forms to limit person-to-person interaction and installation of physical barriers to enclose the front desk area are in process. Per ADA recommendations, we have removed magazines from our reception area and I have implemented some internal policies to ensure that all of our team members are doing everything they can do prevent transmission. Lastly, I changed the layout of our staff area to be compliant with social distancing measures and we have invested in some new cleaning equipment to ensure we are doing everything we can do decrease the risk of transmission. All of these steps have been taken in addition to the increased PPE measures.
While this does mean that some of your visit may seem different, my goal has always been to maintain patient comfort and convenience.
For this reason, we are increasing the number of days that we are available as we will be seeing patients half an hour apart to allow the air to properly circulate through our clinic, to allow us time to clean all hard surfaces and high contact areas (doorknobs, etc.), and to ensure that we give patients the time to come and go without interacting with patients from another household. We will be using this time to screen incoming patients (checking temperatures, oxygen levels, and reviewing personal\medical history). Patients will be asked to stay in their cars until we physically signal you to come in or text you indicating we are ready for you.
Some may say these measures are over the top—there are folks in my field that certainly feel that way. Personally, I’d rather be safe than sorry. Hope to see you soon!
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