As we announce the re-opening our practice to routine and preventive dental care, we hope this communication finds you and your loved ones safe and well. Our communities have been through a lot over the last few months and with continued efforts, we are hopeful that we will all be able to return to our normal lives and routines soon.
Since the beginning of the pandemic, dentistry has been considered essential and we have always been available to our patients for emergency care. In the past few weeks, the California Department of Public Health, the U. S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and Santa Clara County have all issued guidelines for dentistry’s return to routine and preventive dental care with some additional precautions and recommendations to assure the health and safety of our patients and dental team members.
You will notice changes in our office like new patient screening protocols, staggered appointment times to ensure social distancing, HEPA 13 air purification units, and additional PPE worn by our team members. However, one thing remains the same: our dedication to your health and safety. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there has never been a report of a Covid-19 cluster associated with dental care. We are committed to continuing to follow the most stringent and up-to-date infection control guidelines to keep our patients safe from all transmissible diseases, Covid-19 included.
At this time we ask for your patience as we begin to reschedule the backlog of appointments that were temporarily canceled over the past several months. For those of you with upcoming appointments, we will be reaching out to you as well and ask for your flexibility as we will need to adjust appointment dates and times to limit the number of patients in our facility in order to assure adequate social distancing.
Please read the below Frequently Asked Questions and Answers for more information about appointments, protocols, and the latest state and local directives regarding dental care. Since these local ordinances have been known to change frequently, we will continue to update you as necessary.
We look forward to seeing you again soon and are happy to answer any questions you may have. We value your trust and loyalty and look forward to welcoming you back to our office.
What are we doing to keep everyone safe in the dental office?
Our first goal is to eliminate, as much as possible, the chance of anyone with Covid-19 entering our office or receiving dental care in our practice. Therefore, we are screening all patients by phone prior to their appointment and then again once they arrive for their appointment before they enter the practice. We are also screening all dental team members before they are allowed to come to work each day. Additionally, we will take the temperature of all patients and dental team members prior to their entering the practice.
With the exception of when a patient is directly receiving dental care, patients will be asked to wear a mask at all times when in the facility and maintain a 6 foot social distance from other patients. We will be staggering patient appointment arrival and departure times in order to assure patients are able to maintain the 6 foot distance from one another when entering and exiting the practice and when in the front office area and hallway.
Patients will also be asked to use hand sanitizer provided at the front desk and wash their hands upon entering the treatment room. Patients will also be asked to rinse with peroxide-based mouthwash prior to starting any dental procedure since peroxide kills the virus that causes Covid-19.
For the time being we will also be adapting dental treatment to minimize the use of dental instruments and equipment that may create a mist of water in or around a patient’s mouth that could spread saliva or respiratory droplets. If the use of such equipment is necessary, we will be using high volume aerosol suctions and barriers like rubber dams when appropriate for certain procedures.
Additionally, our facility has been outfitted with sneeze barriers and hospital grade HEPA 13 air purification units in all treatment rooms. And of course we are using high-level surface disinfectants that are approved for killing the virus that causes Covid-19. All dental team members will wear additional PPE including face shields with surgical masks or respirators. The office is being "fogged" daily with a CDC approved solution. The office is further disinfected each evening using a powerful UV light source.
Can I get a cleaning and check-up?
Yes, both the California Department of Public Health and the Santa Clara Department of Health are allowing preventive care like cleanings and exams as long as certain guidelines and precautions are adhered to. Therefore, at this time, we are providing cleanings using traditional hand scaling instruments rather than ultrasonic scaling devices in order to limit the possibility of saliva and respiratory droplets getting spread through the mist that is created in and near the patient’s mouth when using an ultrasonic scaler.
I have a scheduled appointment coming up, what should I do?
If you would like to keep your upcoming dental appointment, please confirm your appointment when you receive your reminder email, text, or phone call. Please be aware that we may need to adjust the date and time of your appointment in order to stagger patient arrival times for appointments and to limit the number of patients in the office at one time in order to facilitate social distancing protocols.
If you need to cancel or reschedule your appointment, please let us know as soon as possible so we can make your appointment time available to another patient who wants to come in. We will add you to our call list and let you know when another appointment becomes available, however we ask for your patience as the wait time for a new non-emergency appointment may be delayed by several weeks or even several months.
I’m on the waiting list for an appointment and would like to schedule an appointment soon, what should I do?
We will start calling patients on the waiting list as soon as appointments become available. We are currently looking to expand our hours to accommodate our patient’s needs. We ask for your patience as we work through this challenging rescheduling process. By all means if you have an urgent or pressing dental need, or need to get in for an appointment sooner than later, please do not hesitate to call or email us and let us know so we can get you in for care.