We’ve had the discussion surrounding the events caused by the coronavirus/COVID-19 and the effects the virus has had on the marketplace. Now we’d like to change course and take a more in-depth view of your dental spaces and what you can do for your patients and your practice during these challenging times.
What We Know
As of March 11, the World Health Organization (WHO) viewed the COVID-19 as a pandemic. Some of the common signs include respiratory symptoms, fever, cough, and shortness of breath. The ADA, the CDC, and the WHO have all implemented preventive measures such as regular hand washing, covering mouth and nose when coughing and sneezing, social distancing, and avoiding mass gatherings.
What Can You Do to Keep Your Practice Safe During the COVID-19 Pandemic
The ADA has compiled a list of actions to ensure your practice and patients are safe during this dynamic time.
- Screening patients for travel and signs/symptoms of infection when they update their medical histories.
- Taking temperature readings as part of their routine assessment of patients before performing dental procedures. (Look for temperatures under 100.4)
- Making sure the personal protective equipment they use is appropriate for the procedures being performed.
- Using a rubber dam when appropriate to decrease possible exposure to infectious agents.
- Using high-speed evacuation for dental procedures producing an aerosol.
- Autoclaving handpieces after each patient.
- Having patients rinse with a 1% hydrogen peroxide solution before each appointment.
- Remove half of your seating in all waiting areas to encourage distancing.
Dentists should encourage patients who answer yes to any screening questions to contact their primary physician or public health department as soon as possible to find out if they should be seen or tested. If a dentist suspects a patient has COVID-19, they should contact their local or state health department immediately. They should do the same if a staff member is suspected or confirmed to have COVID-19. Dentists may also consider taking steps such as asking patients to arrive on time for their appointments rather than too early; removing reading materials, toys and other objects that may be touched by patients and are not easily disinfected; and scheduling appointments with an eye on minimizing contact with other patients in the waiting room.
Website Post for your Practice
(Insert Your Practice Name) greatest concern is for the health and safety of our patients, our team members, and their families. We closely monitor and adhere to the current guidelines provided by the CDC, ADA, AAOMS, NCDS, and the NCDHHS.
For patients who have appointments, we ask that you reschedule your visit if you have traveled internationally within the last 14 days, been in close contact with another person who has been diagnosed with or under investigation for COVID-19, or have experienced a cough, fever, or shortness of breath. Such individuals should contact their primary care physician for further evaluation.
We constantly monitor this situation closely and will update our guidelines as new information is made available.
Thank you for your help and assistance.