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COVID-19

Safety measures in our dental practice

We are confident that these guidelines will help create a safe environment for our entire community of patients and team members. We hope you can feel secure in the knowledge that we are doing everything in our power to provide the safest clinical conditions in order to protect our patients, our team and our families. Should you have a question, please call us! We are here for you.

1. Educating and training our team

2. Recommendations for Our Team

3. Patient Interviews, Social Distancing and Infection Control

4. Measures upon arrival

5. Measures upon entry to the office

6. Reception room and front desk safety measures

7. Protocols of the clinical team (doctors, assistants and hygienists)

8. Patients in the operatory or treatment room

9. Protocols after clinical treatment

10. Safety measures after the visit


1. Educating and training our team

one of the most important things we are doing is to train and educate our team members. Our team has had refresher training in proper hand washing techniques. This may seem basic, but it is one of the most important things we can do to prevent the spread of the virus. Yet, research shows this is often poorly complied with and not done well. Our team members have been trained to do this thoroughly and often, but especially before and after each patient encounter.

everyone in the office, including doctors and staff, has had detailed training and practice in how to properly wear and remove their personal protective equipment (PPE) prior to caring for a patient to prevent contamination

staff that are not feeling well are proactively staying home for two weeks, and we will try our best to have a backup team member should that happen

everyone in the office, all doctors and staff, take their temperature and do a symptom check at the the beginning of every day on arrival, and anyone with an elevated temperature (100.2F or higher) will be sent home immediately

we are limiting the number of staff providing care to facilitate social distancing within the office and among team members

we have a specific checklist of recommendations for our team to follow so that they arrive to work healthy and go home to their families without worry (see “Recommendations for our Team)

 

2. Recommendations for Our Team 

Before coming to work:

do a fever and symptom check - and do not come in to work if you or any other family member have a fever or are experiencing symptoms: cough, sore throat, fever, etc.

remove rings, watches and leave at home as these hinder proper handwashing

keep nails short

tie up hair and keep away from face

avoid extra accessories

personal phones away during the day, and only use during breaks following meticulous hand hygiene

activate cashless payment systems such as contactless credit cards so there no need to handle cash 

bring work clothes in a washable cloth bag 

 

At work:

change into scrubs and work shoes right after your symptom and fever check

use a 1% peroxide rinse before donning appropriate PPE

use PPE as per training to prevent contamination

leave any clutter (pens, phones etc.) outside treatment rooms

do not use personal phones while at work - keep them in your personal bags - only use during your lunch break following meticulous hand hygiene before and after using your phone

clean and disinfect handset immediately after using office phones 

 

after work:

wash hands and arms with soap and water

remove scrubs and place into the washable bag, or leave at work; leave shoes at work

wash hands again and put on clean clothes

sanitize any personal effects like glasses

wash hands again

 

at home:

do not touch anything

remove your clothes and shoes; put your clothes into the laundry with detergent and hot water

shower immediately with soap and water before touching anything or anyone


3. Patient Interviews, Social Distancing and Infection Control 

Before patient arrival we make every effort to ensure the safety of everyone, we are:

screening every patient on the phone using recommended checklists and questionnaires

asking pertinent questions to recognize carriers

rescheduling patients who show signs and symptoms of a cough or fever or other concerning warning signs

instructing all patients to call ahead and reschedule appointment if they develop symptoms of a respiratory infection (cough, sore throat, fever on the day of appointment

 

Social Distancing

we are staggering patients in our schedule to have no more than four (4) people in our reception seating area to keep everyone at a safe social distance

if a patient is being accompanied, their escort should wait in the car to limit the number of people in the reception seating area

creating a virtual waiting room - we are giving patients the option to wait in the car or somewhere near the office where we can contact them by mobile phone when it is time for them to be seen


Upon patient arrival

hand sanitizing station immediately upon arrival

wellness check screening questionnaire, including checking body temperature

masks and facial tissues available as needed; instructions are provided on how to use tissues to cover nose and mouth when coughing or sneezing, and receptacles to dispose of tissues and contaminated items

multiple hand sanitizing stations throughout the office and hand washing facilities with WHO handwashing instructions displayed in treatment rooms

posters to showcase instructions on hand-hygiene and cough etiquette at entrance and appropriate places throughout the office 

 

4. Measures upon arrival

fever and symptom check immediately upon arrival

symptom, respiratory, travel and potential covid-contact history update via a signed wellness check questionnaire

if fever is noted at or above 100 degrees F, or other symptoms are present, patient will be referred for testing and visit will be rescheduled

if no fever and body temperature and health declaration is within normal, then:

-be escorted to treatment room as soon as possible after check-in

-and immediately to a handwashing station and provided a 1% hydrogen peroxide oral rinse before start of appointment

-protective eye wear for each patient

-as and when testing for the virus becomes more available, we plan to add the added benefit to screen both patients and team members 

 

5. Measures upon entry to the office

if a treatment room is not ready on arrival, ensure social distancing in the waiting room by sitting in designated seating

removal of all touch points in the reception seating area: this includes magazines, toys and such items

disinfection of furniture appropriately between patients

frequently wiping down all touch points in public/ non-clinical areas of office 

 

6. Reception room and front desk safety measures

install physical barriers (sneeze guards) at reception areas to limit close contact between reception and patients

our front desk has always used headsets, and these are never shared among the front desk team

HEPA filtration system with UV germicidal light to keep the reception air as clean as possible


7. Protocols of the clinical team (doctors, assistants and hygienists)

we have always adhered to the most rigid infection control standards, and will continue to do so

we ensure all new protocols are followed meticulously by all team members.

  

Using the CDC, ADA, CDA, SFDPH and OSHA guidelines we are training all our team members for the following:

Hand hygiene by all team members

before and after all patient contact, contact with potentially infectious material

before putting on PPE, including gloves

after removing PPE in order to remove any pathogens that might have transferred to bare hands during removal

wash hands with soap and water for 20 seconds based on WHO guidelines

 

PPE

wear PPE around all patients, confirmed or unconfirmed (masks, gloves, cap, eye protection, face shields, gowns)

outer masks are one time use and all masks are disposed and replaced when soiled 

masks and full face shields are utilized for every patient and all appointments

 

Eye Protection

wear eye protection (goggles) or face shield upon entry to treatment rooms

remove eye protection before leaving treatment room

reusable eye protection to be cleaned and disinfected according to manufacturer’s reprocessing instruction prior to re-use

 

Gloves

put on clean gloves upon entry to treatment room

change gloves if torn or heavily soiled or contaminated

remove and discard gloves when leaving treatment room, immediately perform hand hygiene

 

Gowns/Lab coats

put on a clean gown/coat before entering treatment room

change gown/coat if it becomes soiled; remove or discard gown in a dedicated container for dirty linen before leaving treatment room

disposable gowns to be discarded after each use; cloth gowns to be laundered after each use

gowns are used for all procedures

 

Shoes/shoe covers/wipes

we recommend plastic or washable shoes that are dedicated for use in the office

if plastic shoes -they should be wiped down and disinfected

if running shoes - they need shoe covers that are to be discarded at the end of the day

 

Bonnets/Caps/Hair

everyone needs to put their hair up and away from the face

everyone will wear a bonnet or cap during all procedures 

 

8. Patients in the operatory or treatment room

dental health care personnel (DHCP) will strictly follow our rigid infection control practices between patients (hand hygiene, cleaning and disinfecting all surfaces in the treatment room, and all equipment)

limit transport and movement of team and patient outside of treatment room

xray equipment in operatory to minimize need of patient transport

no other team member to enter the treatment rooms during a procedure and if necessary will wear the PPE described above

once procedure is completed, break down room as per rigid universal precautions, plus the current and latest recommendations to 

-refrain from reentering the room until sufficient time has elapsed to remove potentially infectious particles

-cleaning and disinfecting all pertinent surfaces in the room

-clean and/or change PPE as per recommendations stated above


9. Protocols after clinical treatment

all non disposable medical equipment used for patient care should be cleaned and disinfected according to manufacturer’s instructions

ensure that environmental cleaning and disinfection procedures are followed consistently and correctly

routine cleaning and disinfection procedures - using cleaners and water to pre-clean all surfaces prior to applying an EPA-registered, hospital grade disinfectant, effective on SARS-CoV2, to frequently touched surfaces or objects for appropriate contact times as indicated in product label

HEPA filter with UV germicidal light that filters the air in each operatory every 20 minutes - this helps remove the microbial load in the air

 

10. Safety measures after the visit

patient payment over the phone before the appointment, or by contact-less credit card

review of patient estimates and insurance paperwork via phone, email, or letters

patient to wash hands before leaving treatment room

 

At the end of the day

a special cleaning crew cleans the office from top to bottom in preparation for the following day

we are also using an HOCL fogger to clean the whole office at the end of the day