The Covid-19 pandemic brought many changes to life around the world, not to mention the dental office. The virus is here to stay and so far there’s no vaccine; however, necessity is the mother of invention. Three of the things we know are: 1. Healthy teeth, gums, and mouths are necessary to lead your best life. 2. Dental care is necessary to keep our teeth, gums, and mouths healthy for as long as possible. 3. And people are inventive and collaborative.
One of the requirements for Dental Offices to reopen is that we have a facility plan in place. The facility plan documents our process to provide a healthy environment in which to work and provide dental care. Our facility plan includes process changes as well as equipment upgrades and new additions. We added UV lights for room sterilization between every patient, HEPA fans to minimize particulates from aspirating procedures, an increased level of particulate filtering masks, face shields and hair covers, and single use gowns. We also require face masks be worn by patients entering and leaving the office and changed our traffic through the building to one way to allow for the best social distancing. And of course we increased our level of cleaning, wiping, and disinfecting.
Some of the changes are challenging to get used to. The upgraded masks, face shields, and head covers are hot and hard to breath through. However, the sense of security this brings to our staff and patients makes the changes worthwhile.
Finally, we have reduced our paper handling significantly. All our patient forms are on our website and we have been ramping up our use of texting to develop a virtual waiting room.
We may be living with this situation for quite some time and we understand patients will come back when they personally feel comfortable and safe. We will continue to come together and fight for not only our own well being, but for the safety and well being of our co-planet dwellers for as long as it takes.