REOPEN DENTAL OFFICE POST COVID-19
Reopen Dental Office Post COVID-19
The guidelines listed below are general recommendations for dental offices to consider as they design and implement their own protocols. Every practice is unique and their solution will be as well. We offer these guidelines for the initial phase of each practice’s “soft launch”. As we learn how to treat patients within our new circumstances, offices should expect to return to a full schedule. Looking to the Future in Dentistry The COVID virus has been extremely difficult for all of us. Beyond the devastation to people’s health and well being, dental offices are experiencing complete shutdowns in some places. This will lead to poorer health over time since good oral hygiene is directly linked to better overall health. As dentists, we need to prepare for a new “future” in dentistry for the time being. The proper time to reopen involves many factors.
State regulations, practice location
Outbreak significance in your area
Emergency dentistry provided
Dental team health
All these factors need to be considered before the decision to reopen or “soft” reopen is made. In the meantime, dental practices and dentists need to prepare for the new polices they will need to put into place to begin seeing patient’s again. Here are 10 points to consider and implement to protect yourself, your team and your patients. Please share your thoughts and ideas to help others in the dental profession work toward a safe reopen process. 10 Points to Consider when Reopening Dental Office
Patient Communication: Most Important Step. Explain how the use of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) Works to every patient.
Stagger Patients: Do not stack dental appointments – Ramp-up slowly. Only use chairs 1-3-5.
Change Appointment Confirmation Style: Explain new safety policies over phone appointment confirmation calls. Ask if patient has any symptoms of fever.
Modified Patient Check-In: Reception room is closed. Check-in is done over the phone. Patients wait to be called-in for an appointment once the previous patient is gone and sanitation is complete.
Office Entry Restricted: Only patients may enter office for appointment. Spouses, friends caregivers and parents need to wait outside. They can assist patients to the front door and hand-off to Sanitization / Disinfection Technician.
Remove Non-essential Items: Any non-clinical items should be stored. Dental display models, flyers, brochures, nightguard samples, implant displays, etc.
Dental Supply Deliveries: All supply deliveries from package carriers or dental suppliers must be accepted outside and sanitized once in practice.
Contain all Aerosol Spray, Extraoral Suction: Use rubber dam to contain spray. Dental Hygienists should have an dental assistant help them and use a high volume ejector (HVE) for hygiene procedures. The modified (Extra-Oral Vacuum Aspirator) EOVA machine is highly effective in preventing air contamination by dental procedures. Its main advantages are that it can easily be modified for use with any dental unit and it is relatively inexpensive.
Sanitization Technician / Environmental Dental Assistant: A new dental position. A roaming dental assistant is most qualified for this new job. They are responsible for sanitizing all areas of concern.
Take Patient Temperatures: Most difficult for dentists. You are not diagnosing or recommending medical steps to the patient based on temperature. You are simply protecting yourself, your team and your patients.