Why are Dental Offices Closed During COVID-19?
Unprecedented times call for unprecedented action. On March 23, we temporarily closed our office for all appointments except for dental emergency treatments. While we made this decision with a heavy heart, we are confident it is the right decision at this time.
Why Are Dental Offices Closing?
We care about the health of our patients, our staff, and members of the community-at-large. The most responsible thing we can do is to close our practice for now and limit staff contact with patients to emergencies only.
By limiting people coming into proximity within our office, we are doing our part to decrease the risk of community spread of COVID-19.
Prevent Community Spread
Dentists all over the nation closed their offices for many of the same reasons. COVID-19 is highly infectious and appears to affect different people in different ways. People who have existing health conditions or are older than 60 seem the most vulnerable, but the disease also can be dangerous to younger, seemingly healthy individuals. Also, some people may not experience any noticeable symptoms, yet the disease seems contagious, even with a lack of clear symptoms.
Like you, we also await emerging information and must adapt to keep everyone as safe as possible. In the meantime, we are following guidance from the CDC and the American Dental Association.
Preserve PPE (Personal Protective Equipment)
Since there is a shortage of personal protective equipment or PPE, we are doing whatever we can to conserve it. Hospitals have trouble sourcing PPE like masks, gowns, and gloves for doctors, nurses, and other frontline medical professionals. We are limiting appointments so that we don’t compete with our community hospitals during this outbreak.
Keep our Team and Patients Safe
Given the proximity to your mouth, our staff is vulnerable to potential exposure if you happen to have COVID-19 or another illness. The virus can be transmitted from aerosols from your mouth and lungs. By limiting appointments to emergency treatment only, we are limiting our team’s exposure as much as possible.
Steps We Are Taking to Help Our Staff and Patients Stay Healthy
During examination or treatment, our staff will be wearing protective garments, and we will very likely ask you to do something similar. Some protective measures include:
- Cleaning all surfaces after each patient using Cavicide, which is a disinfectant/decontaminant commonly used in operating rooms.
- Thoroughly washing hands multiple times throughout the day, including before and after we see a patient.
- Wearing clean gloves, a mask, and eye protection.
- Always covering each dental chair with a plastic liner and changing the liner after each patient’s appointment.
- Using a sterilized handpiece as needed.
- Asking all patients to wash their hands and swish with hydrogen peroxide.
- Asking patients to wear a rubber dam for safety. This device prevents saliva from getting into the operating field, and it isolates the germs.
- Regularly wiping down bathrooms and the lobby area with Lysol and Clorox Bleach Wipes.
- Clearing the waiting room of shared coffee and beverage machines as well as reading material.
- Asking patients to fill out all paperwork online to minimize the time in the office.
How to Handle an Emergency Appointment
If you find yourself in need of emergency dental care, make sure you take the proper measures before heading to your dentist or dental specialist. Even better, if you wish to speak with an Endodontist without leaving your home, Ballantyne Endodontics has launched teledentistry within our practice.
Take Your Temperature Before Coming to Your Appointment
We will ask you to take your temperature before coming into the office. Let us know if you have a fever or higher than usual temperature. Once you arrive at the office, we will take your temperature again before you are seen by our team. During times like these, it is important to implement multiple layers of protection.
As a general precaution, before you go out, take your temperature and the temperature of everyone in your household. If you have an elevated temperature stay home unless it is an emergency. In an emergency, inform your medical provider that you have a fever, they may have special instructions or procedures to minimize unnecessary contact with others. Also, COVID-19 symptoms vary among individuals. Some people may not have a fever, so be sure to follow social distancing guidelines even if your temperature is normal.
Leave Additional Family Members at Home
Please come to your emergency appointment alone. If the appointment is for a child or another minor, please send just one adult. We need to minimize how many people come into our office for everyone’s safety.
We are All in This Together
Thank you so much for your understanding. We are doing our best to provide a safe and healthy place for you to access dental care if you should have an emergency. We look forward to welcoming you back for routine cleanings and preventative care as soon as it is safe.
In the meantime, please maintain your dental hygiene habits. Floss daily and brush twice a day using a soft-bristled toothbrush and a toothpaste containing fluoride. Finally, Ballantyne Endodontics wishes you and your family safety and good health.