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.
Technology permeates our lives—from our smartphones to our work computers to our automobiles and our smart speakers (Alexa, Google Home, Siri). So while I don’t just brush aside concerns about privacy in all of this tech connectedness, I am really excited about what it can do for us in healthcare. Sharing health information can only make all of us caregivers better at what we do. And I firmly believe that people who actively are engaged in their health and “health knowledge” can be better consumers of health services. To that end here is an article about advances that Amazon has made with their smart speaker, Alexa.
I think we have only scratched the surface of this type of device’s capability to connect and better each of us. I mentioned to one patient who was struggling to help her elderly mother with daily oral hygiene reminders due to her dementia that she could just put in a reminder for Alexa to tell her mom to brush her teeth every night at 8pm. To test this out I put in a reminder on my Alexa to tell me every Thursday night to put out the milk bottles for Lakeview Farms to pick them up overnight (Lakeview has awesome milk BTW!). Works like a charm and I’ve never missed putting them out. And for that patient she could even control the Alexa remotely as her mom lived in a care facility. Now I just need to find more ways to use mine than just as a milk reminder and kitchen timer!”
It’s time to make a New Year’s resolution! Here are a few simple suggestions for small changes that can have great impact on your oral and overall health—not to mention your bank account. I see some of you every week with these issues. Make sure it’s not you in 2020!
It is incredibly unfortunate and saddening the acts of violence that we see persist in our “civilized” society today. I don’t pretend to understand the scope of this issue, but can only hope that in the darkness that we can find light and hope. Here is a story close to all of us here in NC (and my dental home at UNC, as I lived at Finley Forest) that helps us see that light and hope. Please click here to read about DEAH Day at UNC.
It’s interesting how many variables affect our lives—both quality of it as well as the longevity. So while I and my team strive to improve quality of life through optimal oral health, here is a recent article summarizing how your attitude and outlook on life can affect it as well.
I recently read an article on how optimism is linked to a lower risk of a heart attack. I strongly encourage anyone to read it here. Hopefully this gives you a great start to your day and encourages you to look on the bright side of anything you may encounter, not only in the dental world, but in your general day to day life as well.
Welcome to our blog page where we will try to keep you aware of the latest news in the world of dentistry—from science and research to products and procedures to fun facts and topics to discuss around the table.
I’d like to direct your attention to a new FDA approval for anti-bacterial fillings. These fillings are designed to last longer–and you can read more from the article here.
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