What we’re doing to combat COVID
Dentistry has long been at the forefront of infection control. We have always operated under what’s called “universal precautions.” Essentially, we treat all patients as though they carry all known infectious diseases. We protect ourselves and our patients by taking measures to prevent disease transmission. In light of the aerosol transmission of COVID-19, we have implemented some additional provisions.
All patients are asked a set of screening questions in advance of their visit to our office. These include:
- Have you had any of the following symptoms in the last 21 days:
- Shortness of breath
- Flu-like symptoms
- Loss of taste or smell
- Have you been in close contact with any people who have tested positive for coronavirus?
- Are you immunocompromised?
These questions are asked again in the privacy of our treatment rooms before proceeding with treatment. All patients have their temperature taken with a touchless thermometer and are given a rinse of hydrogen peroxide solution before treatment.
Our office is already something of an exception in that each of our treatment chairs is in a separate room with a closed door. Each treatment room is outfitted with a fan for ventilation, and has been equipped with additional suction to help capture aerosol in the mouth.
Appointments are staggered to limit the number of patients in the office at a given time. Our administrative processes have been streamlined to reduce time in the common spaces of the office and to reduce contact with staff.
For a typical appointment, starting from the time a patient is outside the building, they need only touch their hands to two things: a disposable rinse cup and an appointment reminder card. Common areas, including the waiting room and restroom, are disinfected after every patient.
All persons who enter the building, whether patients, employees, or service people, are required to wear a face mask. Hand sanitizer has been installed at every counter, in the waiting room, and in all treatment rooms. All treatment rooms are also furnished with a sink for handwashing with soap, which is the preferred method of cleansing the hands.
In addition to the scrubs, masks, gloves, gowns, and eye protection that our staff routinely wears, we’ve added respirators, face shields, bouffant caps, and shoe covers to our attire for active treatment. All staff log COVID-related symptoms and risk factors and record their temperature at the beginning of each day. All staff are encouraged to take time off if they suspect they or a member of their household develops COVID-like symptoms.
We’ve installed floor-to-ceiling partitions in administrative areas to allow staff to work and take breaks in comfort and isolation. We launder our scrubs on site and are equipped with a staff shower.
The bottom line
We take our position as healthcare providers and stewards of public health seriously. We are confident in our capacity to provide treatment safely. If you have further questions, please reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Connie Oh, DDS, MS