While many things have changed, one thing has remained the same: our commitment to your health and safety. Our office has always followed the infection control recommendations from the American Dental Association, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. We are always committed to ensuring that our infection control procedures are current and effective, and our top priority is the health and well-being of our patients, families, staff and community.
We want to take a moment to let you know what we are doing in our office to start reopening our doors to see all our patients again. We missed you.
1. We are training and educating our team
• They had a refresher training in proper hand washing techniques, no matter how basic it is, and spent a lot of time ensuring that the team does it well and often.
• They have always used personal protective equipment (PPE) and we have practiced the appropriate use prior to caring for a patient.
• Staff was instructed to stay home if not feeling well or have a fever
• We are taking temperature of every team member every day and if there is an elevated temperature, we are sending them home immediately.
• We are following all the social distancing and limiting the numbers of staff and staggering lunch breaks.
• Our staff is following recommended guidelines that we established for them before, during, and after work and at home.
2. Patient Interviews and Social Distancing
• Before patients arrive, we are interviewing them over a phone call when scheduling using the recommended screening checklists and scripts.
• We are rescheduling patients who show any signs of a cough or fever or have any warning signs. We also instructed patients to call ahead and reschedule their appointment if they develop symptoms of a respiratory infection such as cough, sore throat, or fever.
• We are spreading out the schedule and staggering appointments, when booking patients, so there are less people in the waiting room.
• We are recommending only one Parent/Guardian per appointment. We are not allowing siblings to come with the patient if they do not have an appointment.
• Parents and patients can opt to wait in their car or outside the office in the grass area of Liberty Station. It is beautiful San Diego and it is time to enjoy the outside.
• We are trying to minimize people in the treatment areas for the safety of parents and staff. We recommend patients to come back on their own except if we need parents to help with behavior.
• Our waiting area layout has been rearranged to accommodate all the social distancing required.
• We are requiring all patients and parents to arrive at the office with their own facial/mask coverage.
• To minimize the time you spend in the waiting room we will ask you to update your child’s health history online.
3. Safety measures taken upon arrival
• Will leave the front office door open to avoid contact with door handles
• Post visual alerts at the entrance door advising patients of the COVID-19 risk and advising them not to enter the facility when ill
• We are providing hand sanitizer/alcohol-based hand rub for every one that enters the office
• Patient is again asked about the presence of symptoms of respiratory infection and history of travel or contact with possible COVID-19 patients
• Patient and parent/guardian are assessed for respiratory symptoms and fever by using a non-contact thermometer before taken back to the treatment areas. If fever temperature of 100.2 F degrees or higher they will be advised to seek medical treatment and their visit will be rescheduled.
• As testing for the virus becomes more available, we will be incorporating this added benefit to screen patients.
4. Reception Room and Front Desk Safety Measures
• Install physical barriers or partitions (e.g., glass or plastic shields) to limit close contact between reception and potentially infectious patients, or utilizing facial shields and masks for the front office staff.
• We have removed all magazines, toys, I-Pads, area rugs that are not easily disinfected for the safety of all our patients.
• We have two separate areas with 6 feet social distancing between two stations with separate phones so one person is using one phone.
• Frequent wipe down of waiting room chairs, bathroom and door handles, tables, light switches, computers, credit card processing machines, signing pads and pens etc….
5. Patients in the Operatory
• Health care personnel should strictly follow basic infection control practices between patients.
• Limit transport and movement of the patient outside the room
• Patient will be assigned to one room with one assistant and no other team member should enter the room during a procedure except the doctor, and if necessary, should use PPE as needed
• We will use our open bay area for one family at a time to follow the social distancing.
• Room doors should be kept closed except when entering or leaving the room and entry and exit should be minimized
• Once patient is in room will ask them to rinse with 1% peroxide and if patient is unable due to age will wipe mouth with cotton rolls.
• When patient has left the operatory, the room should undergo appropriate cleaning and surface disinfection before it is returned to routine use.
• Special precautions will be taken when performing Aerosol generating procedures such as the use of rubber dam and High vacuum suction.
• We highly recommend parents and guardians to stay outside due to the safety and the social distancing, and only allowed if are needed for behavior management.
6. Protocols of the Clinical Team
• Hand Hygiene is performed before and after all patient contact, and before putting on and after removing personal protective equipment (PPE)
• Personal Protective Equipment will be used with every patient, which include: A) masks or N95 masks, depending on procedure. B) gloves, C) eye protection which includes face shields or goggles depending on procedure. D) Gowns. All PPEs will be changed for every patient or disinfected according to manufacturer’s reprocessing instructions prior re-use.
7. After Visit Safety Measures
• We encourage payment by credit card, apple pay or tap payment wirelessly.
• Review of treatment plan and estimates can be sent via email and discussed over a phone call
• Patient and parent will use hand sanitizer again.
Point Loma Children’s Dentistry always adhered to the highest standards for the transmission -based precautions inside and outside the operatories. We are confident that with these guidelines our patients and team members will feel secure in the knowledge that we are doing everything in our power to provide the safest clinical conditions in order to protect our patients, our team and our families.