How our dental clinic re-opened during the pandemic

October 2, 2020

CDF member Denise:

"In order to overcome our unease with the situation, we have decided to put multiple layers of protection in place at our office. We have met the guidelines put in place by the CDHO for our hygienists, and for restorative appointments we are going above and beyond the minimum measures set in place by the RCDSO. These layers of protection includes among other things, caps, gowns, masks, shields and gloves are worn by our staff at every appointment whether aerosols are produced or not. We have sealed operatories and after disinfecting the room manually we are using a non-toxic disinfectant fog to catch anything we may have missed. Each operatory has two HEPA filter machines to deal with the aerosols and we have also lengthened appointment times by 50% to make sure that there is no rushing of anything by our staff. We have hired a sterilization assistant to be sure that our instruments are well taken care of and all IPAC procedures are followed to a tee. Office traffic is managed so that there is proper physical distancing if there are a number of patients in the office at the same time, and patients wait in their vehicles until we come to get them. These procedures have decreased the number of patients we see a day, and have made it more difficult to deal with emergencies, however we just accept that we may have to come in earlier or stay later if need be to deal with these situations. We are monitoring the financial implications of a reduced patient load, extra staff and the increased cost of PPE and new office equipment, however we are finding ourselves busier than ever, as it seems as if many patients have been waiting with their dental issues for us to open up. We feel confident that with these efforts, our staff and patients are well protected against COVID-19 and all other risks that are out there.

My advice would be to take very seriously the possibility of COVID-19 entering your facility. Do the things that you may think are a bit over-the-top because this virus is sneaky and we cannot get complacent. At most dental offices the first thing we care about is the safety of our staff and patients. At this point in time that means staying vigilant. At first we were all very overwhelmed with everything, but we took our time to set ourselves up properly and as we are getting used to the new routine, things are getting easier. Patients have been exceptionally understanding with all of the changes."

~ Thanks Denise for sharing!

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