Important Information Regarding COVID-19

Updated 08/01/2020:   

Helllloooooo everyone! Thank you for reading (or rereading) this as we’ve encouraged.  We’ve now been back at it since mid-May and I’d say things have gone pretty smoothly, all things considered.  We are happy and THANKFUL to report that everyone has been so kind, patient, and understanding of all the new protocols we are required to follow.  The word on the ‘street’ is that this new ‘normal’ is here to stay for the forseeable future.  The reason things have run like clockwork is because Taryn-the-Dynamo has been whirling and swirling around this office like a machine.  It’s thanks to her that the prescreenings are done, calls and questions are answered, countertops/door handles/pens/clipboards are disinfected, rooms get their double disinfections, and patients are checked in and out properly.  To say she is a dynamo is an understatement!

We were able to acquire a very limited quantity of necessary PPE from our dental supply companies and are crossing our fingers, toes, and hairs that the rest of it will trickle in in a manner that allows us to continue to operate with no more office closures.

From a patient perspective, Taryn & I want to continue to update you on how the office has changed and what to expect, based on the rules and regulations we have to adhere to.  Some items of note:

  • We will communicate with you the day before your appointment to complete a prescreening.  It will be repeated upon your arrival for your appointment.
  • Hand sanitizer is available in each operatory and on the reception area counter as soon as you enter the office.  You will be asked to use the sanitizer immediately upon entry and before touching anything. 🙂
  • Touchless forehead thermometers are used to take temperatures on anyone entering the office; Taryn & I take our temps each morning upon arrival.
  • All countertops, door handles, pens, clipboards, hand sanitizer dispensers, credit cards, and bathroom (if used) are disinfected between each patient using Certol EPA-approved, medical grade disinfectant (not merely an over-the-counter product or wipe).
  • Multiple, medical-grade purifiers with high-efficiency, H-13 HEPA filters and anion generators from Medify Air are running throughout the day, with a 1 hour super-cleanse at the end of each day.
  • Operatories undergo two separate disinfection processes between each patient.
  • Dr. Dina is wearing dual layers of masks, glasses, face shield, head cover, and a sterilizable gown that has an antibacterial coating.
  • We have a single trashcan designated as the receptacle for any items used in an operatory with a patient.
  • Dual suctions, including the Re-Leaf, are used on every patient, every appointment, no exceptions.
  • All reading material and kids’ books and toys have been removed from our reception area since they are difficult to disinfect.
  • We are seeing only one patient at a time.
  • We have set up an empty operatory as our ‘triage center’.
  • All patients will perform a pre-procedural rinse with diluted hydrogen peroxide.
  • Dental unit water lines were appropriately shocked before reopening; lines are purged regularly.
  • This is NOT something new, but we continue to do weekly spore testing on our autoclave by an independent lab, as well as running tests in each and every load using Class 5 (the highest) chemical indicators.

Given all these initiatives and added constraints, appointment times and options will be more limited, so we ask you to be more flexible with your schedules.  It is also still not approved for us to use the ultrasonic scaler on anyone, so I’m doing the best I can to remove tenacious tartar by hand, in those mouths where the ultrasonic used to come in handy.  

The prescreening will need to be done by 2 p.m. the day prior to your appointment.  Taryn will be calling you to do these by phone, and it will be repeated when you arrive the next day.  Consent forms must be printed, completed, and brought with you!  Taryn will email them to you and they can also be accessed here on the website home page.  

Per the requirements, we will no longer be allowed to have patients waiting in the reception area. You will have to call us upon your arrival, wait in your cars, and then we’ll call you back when we’re ready for you to come inside.  ANYONE ENTERING MUST ALSO BE WEARING A MASK.  I know that sounds crazy since you’ll be opening your mouth for the subsequent hour, but we don’t make the rules.

One quick note about the suction devices—obviously dentistry is an aerosol-based occupation and that is how the virus spreads.  Thus, one of the new regulations is to use high volume suction devices for ALL procedures, and sometimes multiple devices.  Many of you have already tried out these gizmos in my office in recent months, because I love them and they truly they make it easier for both of us.  Though they’ve been met with overwhelming positive response, there’s always a few who aren’t in favor.  I know it may be tough, but it is no longer an option NOT to use them.  You will have your mouth open–you can still breath through it, or your nose! Nothing will be impeding or blocking your airway.  Sometimes you just have to take a minute to get used to it and then it’s easy-peasy from there, but it is mandatory.

Taryn and I have enjoyed seeing everyone and look forward to those yet to come. And though our faces will basically be Saran-wrapped, we’ll be smiling beneath! 🙂 On a personal level, I am saddened that I won’t get to have the great conversations I’ve had with so many of you for so many years, since the new guidelines want patients in and out as quickly as possible.  I fear new patients will not get to know the kind of dentist I want and used to be. 🙁  Know that my ‘shortness’ of conversation or lack of it isn’t personal and isn’t MY choice.                 

We thank you in advance and extend our gratitude for your understanding and cooperation. Together, we can help keep everyone as safe and healthy as possible. We encourage all of our wonderful patients to continue using this time to get those pesky home projects completed, reconnect with your children and loved ones, reflect on what you find important in life, and nail down that flossing regimen, because I AM still inquiring about your home care!                                                       

Stay healthy!                                                                                                                                                                                  Dr. Dina & Taryn-the-Dynamo