How Dr. Chan in Gilroy Is Making His Dental Office A Safe Place Post COVID -19
In light of COVID-19, many patients wonder whether dental offices will ever be safe places again. Although many of us have kept up with the news, preparing to return to our regular routines, has been a heavy cloud hanging over our heads.
Dr. Chan himself has been on a personal journey to making our dental practice aseptic yet welcoming. Throughout the Shelter in Place (SIP), he has been doing extensive research on whether there are protocols to follow as we reopen our dental practice.
Following the annotated notes of professional journals, associations and governing bodies, Dr. Chan answers a variety of questions about when, what, and how he has implemented changes in his dental practice to ensure the health and safety of his team and his patients. Perhaps your concerns can be appeased from reading about Dr. Chan’s plans in this time of uncertainty.
1. First off, Dr. Chan, have you resumed normal business hours in your dental practice and is your entire team back in the office?
We have resumed our office hours as of May 26th, 2020 with our entire staff. Prior to that we were only seeing emergency patients.
2. What steps did you take in order that your team could resume practicing dentistry?
We made sure that our infection control measures were current by reviewing and updating infection control protocols with the entire staff. Also, we implemented elimination, substitution, engineering, and administrative controls.
3. In light of COVID-19, what are the things you consider absolutely essential to change or upgrade in your practice to make it safe that are different from those pre-COVID-19?
I would say a good pre-screening system and adherence to good infection control standards are a must. Post-COVID-19, we:
- do more pre-screening
- schedule patient-distancing appointments
- do symptom-checking upon arrival
- reschedule and/or refer symptomatic patients
- do more online communication
4. What have you done to make your dental team comfortable with the level of workplace safety in your practice?
We bought adapters to maximize our high volume evacuation (HVE), extraoral vacuums, and of course use proper PPE, including face shields which will fit over our magnifying loupes. We removed portable fans and removed extra items off counters. We placed antiseptic soap dispensers throughout the office. We ordered more laundry friendly clinical jackets. We ordered a new touchless thermometer. All staff were asked to be tested.
5. What steps help to make sure your patients feel like your practice is safe?
Pertinent email and phone communication.
6. Do you test your staff for COVID-19, and if so, how?
Yes, all staff have been asked to be tested for COVID – 19 prior to our re-opening date. We have left it up to the individuals, as to the specific testing procedure.
7. Did you raise your fees to cover increased safety measures performed in your office?
Yes, we now include a nominal PPE charge for each visit. Since most insurance fee change approvals are only permitted annually, we were unable to include the increased safety costs into each procedure.
8. Do you use teledentistry, and if so, for which patients?
Not yet, but we will soon have that capability. Yes, for a variety of situations, including post-operative patients.
9. Do you have any advice to share with your patients?
- Keep abreast of the latest developments and knowledge regarding COVID-19 as the material and agency recommendations are constantly changing.
- Follow social distancing
- Frequently practice hand sanitization
- Eat healthy choices
- Exercise regularly
- Enjoy life
- We miss our patients and the relationships we have built over the years.
- We hope to see you soon!