|First, I hope that everyone and their families and friends are healthy and safe…that’s most important. Next, this past Monday, Governor Murphy announced that we will be allowed to treat elective medical and dental care as of May 26, 2020.
We have put together a protocol to be able to provide a safe environment to deliver the best in dental care. In the next few days, either Alex, Caitlin, or Erin will be calling our patients to schedule your new appointment. If you have any dental problems that you would like us to look at or treat, please contact us. If you are concerned about coming to our office, you can use our virtual portal on our website or click here:
Schedule Teledoc Appointment
Our protocol was designed to make our office as safe as possible so that you are as comfortable as possible and confident that our office is a safe place to have your dental needs treated.
Here is our protocol:
Upon scheduling and confirming your dental appointment, we will screen all patients for any signs of symptoms of COVID 19.
On the day of your appointment we will use “curbside check-in”. That will require you to stay in your car until we are ready to bring you into the treatment area so there is no waiting in our reception area. While in your car, you will be asked to fill out a wellness form via text to confirm you have no sign or symptoms of COVID 19 and also notified by text that we are ready to bring you into the office.
Once inside our office, you will be required to wear a mask, which we will provide if you do not have one, and we will take your temperature with a contactless thermometer prior to entering our treatment area. If your temperature is over 100 degrees, we will cancel your appointment and require you to be tested prior to rescheduling. We will also require that you sanitize your hands prior to entry to our treatment area.
In the treatment room, we have a bin to place your personal belongings (outerwear, hat, etc.) as well as a UV sterilizer for small items such as phones and keys. That bin is cleaned with disinfectant after each patient’s appointment.
All of our clinical staff have the necessary PPE. We have N95 type masks, gowns or jackets, and face shields. There are contactless soap dispensers in every room. Our staff will follow the same protocol that patients do; they will have their temperature taken daily and also sign that they have no signs or symptoms of COVID 19 and have not been in known contact with anyone who is sick.
Prior to treatment we will require all patients to rinse with a 1.5% hydrogen peroxide rinse for 60 seconds, which is effective in killing viruses in your mouth. When possible we will use an Isolite which is a device that sits in your mouth during treatment, protects your tongue and cheek, and suctions constantly to limit any aerosol spray. Most patients find it comfortable to use as it also provides a bite block to rest on.
Following treatment, you will again be asked to rinse with the 1.5% hydrogen peroxide rinse for 60 seconds. Once treatment is completed, our front end business staff will assist you with scheduling your next appointment, insurance submission, and financial arrangements. Those staff members will be behind plexiglass shields.
Payment can be made via an online portal or using NFC (Apple Pay, Google Pay etc.) to limit transactions requiring hand touching. We are encouraging patients who need extensive dental work, to consider longer more comprehensive visits to limit both yourself and our staff to multiple visits.
As you can see, we have put a lot of effort into designing our new protocol as well as outfitting our office. We are also expecting a new air filtration system to be in place shortly (probably within a week or two) and a spray disinfectant for the treatment rooms to also be available within a few weeks.
Lastly, remember that the biggest risk is really to our staff and myself, since we are working in your mouth (you are not working in ours!) and so we have a vested interest in maintaining a safe environment. Unfortunately, there are significant costs associated with these changes. Consequently, we will be charging a $10 per visit PPE fee which may not be covered by your dental insurance in order to provide you with all the necessary safety measures.
I hope we have answered all your questions regarding our protocol to provide a safe environment to have your dental care done. Should anyone have any questions, concerns, or suggestions, please contact me directly and I will be happy to discuss.
Paul R Feldman, DMD, FAGD, FICOI, PA and all the staff at Suburban Essex Dental