Statement on Preparations and Patient Treatment during the Coronavirus Pandemic
The doctors and staff at Francis Dentistry wish you well during these challenging days of dealing with the life changes associated with the presence of Covid-19, and hope you are finding the necessary resources and support to thrive during this time of social distancing. Our staff at Francis Dentistry is well and looking forward to resuming full scale dentistry in the coming days. However, the manner in which we prepare for and treat our patients has changed and will require understanding on the part of our valued patients.
We will be operating a reduced daily schedule as we begin the process of seeing our patients for elective treatment. As patients are contacted for appointments, they will be asked questions about their current health in order to determine their suitability and availability for dental treatment. Upon arriving for their appointment, patients will be asked to call the office and then wait for a call to come in for their appointment. We ask that patients wear a mask to your appointment and not bring other family members with you unless absolutely necessary. Upon entry patients will be asked to wash their hands, fill out paperwork to screen for respiratory illness, and then taken to the treatment operatory. A pretreatment mouth rinse will be given at this time. Our operatories have had many items removed in order to prevent any form of cross contamination, and our intent during treatment will be to keep aerosols to a minimum. We will also attempt to prevent any “traffic jams” in the office at the front desk so wait times for checkout will be reduced.
During the past several weeks, we have seen only emergency patients at our office. This was mandated by our governor, who asked medical and dental providers to cease elective procedures in order to preserve precious Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for frontline responders in Emergency Rooms and ICUs. By seeing our emergency patients during this period, we also kept some patients with dental complaints out of potentially crowded hospital emergency rooms. The governor’s order was lifted on May 1, and we along with most dental providers are ramping up to begin elective treatment in our offices.
To accommodate elective procedures during the pandemic, we are following the guidance of the American Dental Association and Virginia Dental Association, which have both provided information on best practices related to office preparation, proper PPE for staff, and treating patients. During the past several weeks we expanded our already outstanding infection control methods to include wiping down high touch areas in the office and limiting as much direct contact with patients as possible. We are training our staff on the proper use of the latest PPE, including N95 respirator masks and level 3 surgical masks (which have the highest level of bacterial and viral filtration). Moreover, we have evaluated our protocols regarding patient treatment.
The health of you and our staff is of paramount importance during this pandemic. COVID-19 has presented many challenges to the medical and dental community and caused a great deal of economic distress in our communities. We know that there will inevitably be questions about patient safety, and we are here to answer them and help reduce any fears you may have. We wish you well in the coming days and look forward to seeing you in the office for more routine dental care!