Dear Patients and Friends of SDNY Dental,
We hope this letter finds you all healthy and in good spirits during this challenging time. All of us at SDNY Dental are looking forward to seeing you again soon and we thank those of you who have offered words of support and encouragement. Presently, our return date for regular patient care continues to be unknown. However, we are taking extraordinary measures to prepare the office to be able to open as soon as possible. We intend to reopen when we are confident that we can provide the absolute safest environment for you.
As leaders in dentistry, our efforts have always been to provide the very highest level of dental care available to our valued patients. Given the new challenges we face in today’s world, we are equally committed to ensuring the highest level of safety for all our patients and our staff. You may hear of other practices that are rushing to open and return to business as usual. However, there exists much conflicting information and confusion regarding what constitutes a safe practice. Please rest assured that we are diligently researching and implementing evidence-based approaches to ensure the safest possible environment and that we will reopen in the most responsible manner.
We want to update you on our new policies and protocols designed to keep you safe and comfortable in our office as we continue to battle the COVID-19 pandemic. Our focus during the recent closure has been to enhance our already stringent infection control and safety procedures to not only comply with but exceed directives and mandates created by the State of New York, the American Dental Association, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. We follow the activity of these agencies daily to ensure we are on top of all the recommendations and guidelines.
In addition to the numerous directives put forth by these governing bodies, we have elected to go above and beyond the minimum guidelines to create a new treatment environment in our practice. We have done extensive investigation to find innovative technology and methodology to keep everyone in our office – patients and staff – as protected as possible. We have always strived to keep SDNY Dental at the forefront of dental care and this is no exception.
You will notice several changes in the office that are all focused to increase everyone’s personal safety:
- Patient safety starts with Staff and Doctor safety and to that end all doctors and staff will be tested prior to returning to work. Additionally, we will be tested at the beginning of each day, including Temperature and Oxygen Saturation levels. As soon as on site Covid-19 testing becomes available to dentists (it seems this is imminent) there will be regular Antigen Testing as well.
- Our Staff and Doctors will be darn the appropriate PPE at all times while in our office. Additional gowns, head and shoe coverings will also implemented.
- To minimize your time in the office, our staff will communicate with you days in advance to conduct general health screening and assess those answers. These same questions will also be asked of you at your appointment time.
- We will ask you to remotely update all insurance profiles, medical histories, and other required paperwork online before your actual appointment, again to minimize interactions while in the office. (We are working towards developing this system prior to reopening).
- We will ask you to please bring a mask to your dental appointment. If you do not have one, please let us know in advance.
- To keep you better informed, we ask that all patients sign up for text notifications as part of our virtual waiting room procedures, again to minimize your wait time in the reception area of the office.
- To protect you and your fellow patients we will kindly request that all patients come unaccompanied to their appointments unless there is an expressed need for an aide or other companion that has been approved in advance.
- In order to maintain safe social distance practices, we ask that you text us from the building lobby to let us know when you have arrived. We will notify you when we are ready for you to come up to the office. We will complete the screening questions again, take your temperature with a temporal thermometer, and address any business with the front office.
- We have hand sanitizer throughout the office for you to use. We will ask you use it when you enter the office. You are free to use it at other areas in the office as needed.
- We will make every effort to bring you directly into the treatment room, avoiding any time spent in the waiting area.
- If you are bringing your own items such as books, magazines, headphones, etc. we may ask you to wipe them down with provided solution chairside.
- Temporary plexiglass barriers will be present in the reception area.
- Treatment team members will be wearing extensive personal protective equipment (PPE) as per CDC mandated guidelines.
- Patients also may be required to wear protective gear as needed for an appointment.
- We will be designing patient flow to allow for physical distancing between patients. This will result in fewer appointment times available per day. Please be patient and understanding with appointment scheduling.
- We will continue to disinfect the office as per usual, however, we have now installed a new air filtration and decontamination system which utilizes non-chemical ultra-low energy plasma technology which is powerful enough to destroy pathogens on contact, yet gentle enough for continued use around even vulnerable populations. These units are designed for rapid remediation in situations where infection risk is elevated. This system is now found in numerous intensive care units and emergency rooms across the country dealing with COVID-19 and other infectious diseases.
- We have also purchased units which create batches of non-hazardous, eco-friendly, antiviral, electrolyzed water solution that can be used as a fog to eliminate airborne contaminates. The solution breaks down into salt water after use and poses no environmental or personal risk.
- We have new high-volume vacuum systems to aid in eliminating 90% of harmful aerosols generated through dental procedures.
- After your treatment is complete, we will ask you stay seated in the treatment room. We will likely complete your payment, if required, and appointment scheduling in the treatment room and help direct you out of the office to help maintain social distancing.
Change is always challenging, but our main concern is your health and safety. We will continue to approach your care with sensitivity, empathy, and integrity. As we navigate this “new normal” together, our ability to accommodate your needs while maintaining a safe environment will continue to be our foremost priority.
We look forward to seeing you again soon. Our staff will be reaching out to help you resume your dental care.
Warmest Regards and best wishes for a quick return!
ALL of us at SDNY Dental