June 2nd, 2020
An Update From Dentistry For Special People Regarding COVID-19: Our Office Is Opening!
We hope this update finds you and your family in good health and in good spirits!
During this time of great uncertainty, we have done our best to continue serving our patients and keep you all aware of any updates on our status. We sincerely hope that we accomplished our goal, which was to help ease the anxiety and uneasy feelings that come from the unknown, as far as your children’s dental health issues are concerned.
As a community, we have all spent the last few months staying at home and doing our part to flatten the curve and slow the spread of the Coronavirus. The data and numbers have shown that we have done a great job at lowering the percentage of positive cases, and can now begin, albeit safely and cautiously, to re-open our doors and get back to what we do best- Taking care of your children’s oral health needs!?
Many things have changed during the past few months, including the way we must do things at our practice, but as you read through the changes and new protocols, please keep in mind that our commitment to our patients and our employees, to put safety and health above all, is still, and will forever be, our #1 priority.
Appointments and Scheduling
In the beginning of May we announced that we had begun the reopening process, which included creating new policies, updating our current policies and implementing new measures to ensure the safety of our patients and employees for when we were given the green light to open our doors. ?With the recommendations of the CDC, the guidance of the ADA and AAPD, and the regulations of NJ State Board of Dentistry as our guide, we are excited to announce that we will begin seeing patients in our office again starting Monday, June 8th, 2020!
As exciting as this news is, we are very aware that an exuberant amount of our patients have had appointments cancelled over the past 10 weeks. We also have a good number of patients with dental pain and dental emergencies, that need to be seen asap. This has been something we, as a practice, have been grappling over for weeks. In order to accommodate all of our patients in a timely manner, we have laid out a plan to prioritize and expedite those with emergent needs, and have also added more hours to our normal office schedule, which means more available appointments.
-We will begin with calling in any patients who had a dental emergency during the time our office was closed and are in need of emergency treatment. These patients will be scheduled during the first 2 weeks, beginning with June 8th, 2020. We have kept a detailed list of everyone that we spoke to or saw as an emergency, and we will use that list to begin the process of reaching out to patients and getting them on the schedule. If your child had or is currently experiencing a dental emergency, you can call the office to schedule an appointment starting June 8th, 2020. We just ask that you please keep in mind that our staff has been trained to thoroughly screen each patient, not just for COVID-19, but also for emergencies that require immediate attention. Believe us when we say that we want to get every patient in as quickly as possible. We just need a little extra patience to make sure no child is left in pain or with an active infection due to lack of appointment availability.
-The 3rd week of our office being open, beginning June 22nd, we will begin seeing patients who had appointments scheduled for fillings and non-emergent extractions that were cancelled during the time our office was shut down. We also have a detailed list of these patients, and our staff will continue reaching out directly to get every child rescheduled.
-The final piece of the scheduling puzzle is hygiene and preventive appointments, which includes cleanings and dental sealants. We are anxious to get this very important piece of your child’s oral health maintenance back on our schedule. As we monitor the beginning weeks of our re-opening, we will assess and decide on when we are confident that we have gotten caught up on treating our patients with urgent needs and are ready to begin a full schedule and open up hygiene appointments. Our goal for this is no later than June 29th, 2020.
New Safety Measures
At Dentistry For Special People, we have always practiced Universal Precautions to the highest possible standard when it comes to sterilization and disinfection. Again, our top priority is the safety and wellbeing of both our patients and our staff. In order to practice dentistry with a virus like the novel coronavirus still present in our community, we had to adapt and enhance our already strict and stringent infection control policies and procedures. Because of this, things might look a little different, and possibly a little intimidating, when you bring your child in for their next appointment. We suggest talking to your children and making sure they know that our office is taking all of these precautions to keep them, their families, and ourselves, safe and protected. Remind them that underneath the “uniform” is still the same friendly doctors and staff they know and love?
-Below are some of the new procedures and policies that we have implemented in our practice. Our staff is currently being trained and will be fully prepared and ready to answer any questions or concerns you may have along the way. Please take the time to read through this list, as we hope it will instill some reassurance and help when preparing your kids!
• Staff will have daily temperature readings and health screenings upon arrival and prior to starting each day
• Clinical Staff will be wearing additional PPE including face shields, N95 masks, head covers, shoe covers & gowns.
• Our front desk and administrative staff will be wearing face masks at all times, and we have installed sneeze guards at both Check In and Check Out
• Photo ID’s will be worn by all staff, to help kids recognize our familiar faces underneath all of our PPE!
• Medical grade HEPA air purifiers have been placed around the office & in each operatory.
• High-volume evacuation equipment will be used when doing aerosol producing procedures to help with the reduction in aerosols
• UVC lights will be used to aid in the infection control process
• Virtual Waiting Room! Check In/Check Out, including forms and payments, will be done via your mobile device
• Patients will be pre-screened prior to their appointments and temps will be taken at appt.
• Hygiene Stations with hand sanitizer, masks, and tissues, will be available at multiple locations throughout the office for patient use
• Social distancing will be implemented by staggering appointments and limiting the number of families in our office at one time
• Common areas and surfaces such as doorknobs, counters & walls will be sterilized thoroughly between every appointment
• A brand-new system for prizes has been created, to keep tiny little hands clean and away from germs!
• Patients and guardians will be asked to wear a face mask while inside the office. This is to keep everyone as safe as we can and prevent the spread of any germs!
We appreciate beyond words, your patience as we work through the re-opening and re-appointing process and cannot wait to see your smiling faces once again (even if it is behind a mask)!