First and foremost I want to thank you, my patient family, for your steadfast faith and trust in me and my team. It continues to humble me how many of you over the past weeks since our re-opening have expressed your trust that my office is a safe place to visit. For that very reason, I want to share where we have been and what we are doing to ensure that trust is well-founded.
When the COVID-19 pandemic led to a shelter-in-place order in March, we were just as anxious and uncertain as the rest of you. Would we contract it? Would we potentially pass it to our patients or our parents or grandparents? Could we, heaven forbid, end up in the hospital or worse? So we hit the pause button on dentistry for six weeks to learn as much as we could from the experts about the virus and its effects. I have always been a science guy and I praise the work that researchers and scientists have done to help us (especially Dr. Ralph Baric at UNC-CH!), and we all are blessed by the efforts of the CDC to guide us to a safer tomorrow.
With what we have learned so far, I have taken measures to help address each of the risks as best we can:
- Social Distancing – We know that close personal contact increases risk of viral spread, and so for now we have eliminated our reception area and ask you to wait in vehicles or outside as you arrive. We ask several screening questions before entering the building then take a contactless forehead body temperature (we each do the same screening daily as well). You will find we give hand sanitizer upon your arrival and your departure. We request you wear a mask into the office and as you depart. Our front desk is shielded with plexiglass and the credit card terminal is recovered after each use.
- Provider Personal Protective Equipment – You will immediately notice that we have added layers to our uniforms: head coverings, face shields, and full-time face masks for each team member. We are trying to minimize aerosol creation in the office, but when we cannot, we wear layered masks. This all helps keep you and our team healthy.
- Physical Facility Change – We have always maintained the highest infection control protocols to protect both you and ourselves, but these have been built around blood-borne pathogens. Treatment rooms have disposable barriers, we disinfect all surfaces between patients, and instruments are steam sterilized. Now to address air-borne pathogens; we have added upgrades to our HVAC system with increased filtration and UV-C light sanitation. We additionally fog the entire office twice daily with electrolyzed hypochlorous acid—an EPA approved strong oxidant and antiseptic solution—to disinfect the entire office. We sanitize the patient restroom after each use and wipe all doorknobs frequently.
Please know that I take your trust to provide safe, quality dental care as a serious responsibility and will do everything in my power to earn and keep it. I am blessed with a team who feels the same and are as committed to our lifetime relationship with you as I am. Thank you for your patience with our new protocols and for each doing your own part to help us all be healthy and stronger together.