Dear valued patient,
As always, we hope that this communication finds you and your family well. It has now been over 4 months since we reopened the office on June 1st. Many of you have returned to the office and it has been wonderful to see each of you again. As anticipated, and in fact by design, the pace in the office has been slower than before the pandemic but we have become accustomed to the “new normal”.
While most counties in the bay area have loosened their restrictions of the shelter-in-place, we continue with the same diligent efforts to make your visits as safe and as comfortable as possible as we did from the start, and even more.
Covid-19 has certainly changed the way we practice dentistry today and some of you have asked, “How have things changed?” “What are you doing differently to make sure everyone is as safe as possible?” So I thought that I would address those questions by letting you know how our protocols are different in the Age of Covid. Most of the changes we have implemented revolve around three principles – source control, social or physical distancing, and infection control.
Source Control: Source control means don’t let Covid-19 into the office space in the first place. Each patient is screened for Covid before their appointment and at the time of their appointment. Their temperature is taken and a questionnaire is filled out, asking about any symptoms of Covid. They are also asked to sanitize their hands with an alcohol based sanitizer. Each staff member is daily screened in the same manner, taking their temperature and reporting about any symptoms. Lab and other delivery personnel have limited access to the office and are restricted from the clinical treatment area.
Social (physical) distancing: With few exceptions, such as emergencies, our goal is to limit the number of patients in the office at any one time. There are only two chairs in the reception area and our scheduling protocol is to limit the number of patients in the office to two people unless they are family members living in the same household. Patients are asked to exit the office through the “back” door if there is no need to return to the reception area.
Infection Control: Disinfection and sterilization have always been some of the cornerstones of our safety protocols, so the fundamental have not changed. However, we have found ways to make the office even cleaner and safer and it all starts with the reception area. Removing magazines and other non-essentials from this area as well as replacing the chairs in the reception area with easily disinfected, hard-surface ones is just the beginning. In the clinical area, we are wearing additional PPE (face shields, full gowns for certain procedures). We change our PPE and wash and sanitize our hands even more than before. We have suspended the use of ultrasonic scalers and polishing as part of a routine cleaning to decrease the production of aerosols as much as possible. We have introduced air purifiers with HEPA filters in the reception area and the treatment rooms. The most recent addition to our disinfection protocol is fogging. Fogging is a process of using a fogging machine to spray an ultra-fine mist of disinfectant into the air throughout the whole treatment room (or any other room) to actually disinfect the air as well as the hard surfaces in the room. This is in addition to physically wiping counters and all other equipment used in the room. The disinfectant used is a weak “acid” (HOCL) and is both incredibly effective against bacteria and viruses and also safe (non toxic).
Please note that this not an exhaustive description of the measures we have taken to keep both you and us safe. If you have further questions, for example, about fogging or any other protocol in our office please feel free to contact our office at (415) 897-9642.
Until we meet again, please be safe and do your part to see that we all get through this tough time, together.
Myron L. Donesky, DDS and staff