Our office continues to follow, and in many instances exceed, the infection control recommendations made by the American Dental Association, the CDC, our state’s Department of Health, and the Washington Industrial Safety and Health Act. We monitor the activities of these agencies so that we are up-to-date on any new rulings or guidance that may be issued.
Some of the changes we are implementing during this time include the following:
- Each team member will self-screen prior to coming in to work. We must each be symptom and fever-free (without medication), as well as not having been in recent close contact with any sick person.
- We are regularly sanitizing the non-patient care areas of our office, including frequently touched surfaces such as doorknobs, pens, faucets, and counters. We have also put away all frequently touched items such as books and magazines.
- We have hand sanitizer that we will ask you to use when you enter the office. In addition to the reception area, you will find some in other places in the office for you to use as needed.
- Our office will communicate with you before your appointment to ask some screening questions. You’ll be asked those same questions again when you arrive for your appointment.
- Appointments and check-in/check-out procedures will be managed to reduce the number of patients in the reception area at any one time. Specifics will be provided via follow-up email and on our website.
- We ask that everyone over the age of 5 who comes in our office wear a mask or face covering. Children ages 2-4 should only wear a face covering if a guardian supervises to make sure it’s worn safely. This is in accordance with our state’s Department of Health directive.
- One of our team members will take your temperature upon your arrival.
- Our team will be wearing increased levels of personal protective equipment, including faceshields.
- Before treatment, you will be provided and asked to rinse with a 1.5% hydrogen peroxide mouthrinse, which is a mild antiseptic.
- We will be decreasing the use of our ultrasonic scalers, air-water syringes, and even rotary polishing cups.
- In instances where optimal treatment calls for the use of instruments that create aerosol, we will employ strategies, such as the dental dam and stronger suction devices, to minimize the production of aerosol. These strategies have been shown to reduce aerosol by 95%.
- In order to address any aerosol that may remain, we will be installing medical grade air purifiers in each treatment room. A single unit cycles through the air in each treatment room every 2.5 minutes and is effective in removing and destroying any infectious particles.
As you read about these measures, and when you experience these measures in action, I know that they may seem excessive, or even alarming. My hope is that one day we will indeed find that we may safely and confidently scale back some of these efforts. Until such a time, however, I would rather operate out of an abundance of caution for all of our sakes. We are happy to answer any questions you may have about the precautions we are implementing. Please feel free to contact us via phone or email.