Our Action Plan
The new coronavirus Covid 19 has halted the world in its tracks. Not knowing what Covid 19 can do and who it affects is one of the worst aspects about this new disease. The closure of dental offices in California has caused huge problems for people seeking help with their dental health. This new virus is unlikely to have a vaccine in the near future and we will need a way to work safely during its possible future flareups.
What Dentistry Has Always Done Well
Dentistry is a very safe environment. Disease transmission inside a dental office is extremely rare. Common places we go like grocery stores, gas stations, and even hospitals are more likely to provide exposure to dangerous pathogens than a dental office. In fact the cleanest place you will sit during the day is the dental chair. Dentistry standards provide great protection against anything that is transmitted by fluids.
- All instruments are surgically sterile.
- Everything in the dental operatories from chairs, lights, and counter surfaces are cleaned with disinfectants that are able to kill even the toughest pathogens like HIV and Hepatitis.
- Use of barriers on equipment and team members to add extra protection.
- All sterilization equipment is regularly tested to verify its effectiveness.
New Challenges for Dentistry
The Covid 19 virus has the potential for being very infectious on surfaces such as metal, plastic, and it is also airborne. Dentistry now must protect us in areas that have not been a concern. These areas might include the waiting room, magazines, check-in counters, payment methods, and dental aerosols.
Permanent Safety Changes
The new normal is to deal with safety outside of the dental operatory. We can add safety and simplicity to all the other interactions at a dental office. Year round air quality will be addressed.
- Scheduling and payments will be combined now to minimize stopping at the front desk.
- Bringing disinfectants outside the dental operatory. Multiple times throughout the day non-clinical surfaces like door knobs and front office counters will be disinfected just like the dental operatories.
- Medical grade whole office air filtration that can filter virus as small as Covid 19.
Safety Changes During Outbreaks
Extra precautions will be used during Covid 19 or other viral outbreaks. One main concern is the elimination of dental aerosols. Certain procedures won’t be provided for those who display symptoms of a viral infection.
- Pre-appointment health screening to include temperature, oxygenation levels, and previous 2 weeks health history.
- The waiting room will be closed. Check-in will be by text and patients will be asked to wait in their cars until called.
- When appropriate patients will be given a mask to wear before and after dental treatment.
- There will be a pretreatment rinse. Depending on the procedure other barriers and protection equipment will be used both for the patient and the dental team.
- Dental aerosol filtration units to eliminate aerosol spread from dental procedures.
Changes for businesses can be difficult. The coronavirus shutdown has given us the time to imagine what could make a dental practice great. The following is just a short list of what we are working on.
- The ability to make online payments.
- The ability to schedule online appointments.
- Onsite specialist to reduce the few procedures that are referred out of town now.
- 3D printed models to virtually eliminate the need for physical impressions with all that goop.
- Dental membership plan. Each year dental insurance is getting worse and less common. We are searching for the best business partner to provide in-office dental benefits for those without dental insurance. A program especially crafted to help dental care be more affordable.
- Virtual consults for large procedures, cosmetic, and ortho consultations will add convenience when needing questions answered without spending the time for an appointment.