We want to share with you the latest updates available on COVID-19 and our response. The outbreak has continued to spread across the country. We have seen the recommendations change rapidly and vary greatly across a number of credible sources. Our ability to treat patients will likely be limited as State and National regulatory recommendations roll out. At this time our practices in Kentucky and Ohio have been asked by the State Dental Boards to limit dental care to emergency only. Expect lots of communications over the next 24 hours to help you facilitate these directives. Practice closures will be coordinated with the Doctor(s) and Regional President.
We are defining “emergency dental care” as 1) patient in pain, 2) patient with an acute infection or 3) other care at the discretion of the treating dentist.
Please follow the direction of your regional leadership team on logistics as we transition our practices. We are working to do everything we can to help support you at the practice level.
As we treat patients (either emergency or otherwise), consider the following:
- Follow standard precautions, sterilization and disinfection procedures in the operatories.
- Remove all food items, magazines, books and toys from welcome areas. Also, please remove blankets from the operatories.
- During appointment confirmation (phone or text) and when the patient checks in, be sure to ask:
- Are you experiencing or have you recently experienced flu-like symptoms or a respiratory infection?
- Have you been in contact with anyone diagnosed with coronavirus?
If the patient answers “Yes” to either question, reschedule — at least 8 weeks out.
- Have patients wait in their cars instead of waiting room until ops are ready. Use text to notify.
- Take temperatures for every patient and team member daily. If temp is above 100.4° F [37.8° C] reschedule the appointment for the patient and send team member home.
- Carefully evaluate the need for treatment for high-risk (over 65 or medically compromised) patients.
- Discontinue practice-to-practice visitation or guest visits to limit the possible spread of virus.
- Be sure to wash lab coats daily in hot water.
- Use hand scaling in place of cavitron if possible. If you must use cavitron, use high speed suction as well.
- Please use a 1-1.5% pretreatment rinse of hydrogen peroxide. Pre-bottled hydrogen peroxide is 3%, so pre-rinse with a 2:1 water-to-hydrogen peroxide mixture for 30 seconds before any high speed handpiece or cavitron usage.
- Continue to refer to the website for the most current information. Practice resources such as Patient Scheduling Suggestions and Task Prioritization are also available.
The information we are receiving from Patterson on mask shortages is constantly changing. Most of the item numbers I shared with you last week are now truly out of stock. The good news is that Patterson has updated their website to reflect existing inventory. The limit is still two (2) item numbers per week per office. Check the Patterson website regularly for updated availability.
Thank you for your amazing care and commitment to our patients and each other. Much in our immediate future is uncertain. As we lean on our values to Share Abundantly, Care for Everyone, Express Gratitude and Build Relationships, I’m confident we can make it through these challenging times and be better for it on the other end.