Dear Patients and Families,
Our community has been through a lot over the last few months, and all of us are looking forward to resuming our normal habits and routines. Originally we had hoped to be open by now, but the state has suspended all but emergency dental and orthodontic appointments still per advisement by the U.S. Center for Disease Control (CDC). We are not certain when we will be able to open yet, but as soon as we receive the okay from Governor Mills we are ready to do so.
I have spent time talking with patients and listening. We share your concerns and frustration, but we have been busy so we can better serve you. We understand that some are hesitant during this time to enter public spaces while others want to be seen for orthodontic appointments as soon as possible. Any opening will of course be in compliance with the CDC, American Dental Association guidelines, Maine State Dental Association, the American Association of Orthodontics, and Maine State Dental Board.
To ensure we are the best place for you to pursue a healthy mouth, bite, and quality of life we have collaborated with colleagues and implemented new technology to help keep you safe. Upon your next visit you may see a few changes at our office. While there may be some changes, one thing has remained the same: our commitment to your safety. Infection control has always been a top priority for our practice. Defending against viruses and germs is part of our daily protocol. Our infection control processes are made so that when you receive care, it’s both safe and comfortable. Prior to the COVID-19 health crisis our office strictly practices the following which exceed recommended guidelines:
- Clean and sterilize all instruments
- Regular sterilization tests are conducted by an independent party and a log is kept of results
- Staff attends annual or more often OSHA infection control classes
- Public areas are cleaned daily including hand sanitizer buttons, door knobs, and light switches
- Operatory chairs, equipment, and items you may encounter are either replaced, sterilized or disinfected between every patient.
- Water testing is done and micro-filters installed on individual dental units
New changes and procedures we have added or are in the process of implementing to ensure we continue to exceed safety requirements include
- Adding HEPA filters to rooms to reduce aerosols
- Dividers between operatories in the Rockport office
- Sneeze guards at the front desk
- Recording health status and temperature of all staff daily
- Social distancing
- Strict minimizing of people in the office. To reduce human traffic in the office
- Teens and adults are asked to enter the office alone
- Children may enter with only one adult
- Directional flow to minimize close interactions denoted by arrows on the floor of the office
- Staff will wear face shields in addition to an appropriate mask
- High speed suction will be used for all aerosol procedures
- Limiting and spacing the chairs in our reception area
- We have hand sanitizer that we will ask you to use when you enter the office. You will also find some in the reception area and other places in the office for you to use as needed
- Appointments will be managed to allow for social distancing between patients. That might mean that you’re offered fewer options for scheduling your appointment. We will do our best to allow greater time between patients to reduce waiting times for you, as well as to reduce the number of patients in the reception area at any one time.
- In order to prevent the spread of germs we have removed communal use items such as magazines, toys, and our ever-loved chocolate chip cookies (temporarily).
- Hand sanitizer will be used before and after use of personal protective equipment by staff.
- Patients over 60 or those with medical conditions may still be deferred in the first phases of Governor Mills’ plan to reopen. As soon as we are able to render care we will reach out to these patients as well.
Checking in for your next appointment will include
- Pre-screening all patients prior to appointments
- Our office will communicate with you beforehand to ask some screening questions. You’ll be asked those same questions again when you are in the office.
- We will ask you to brush at home prior to your appointment to prevent the spread of germs at our brushing station.
- Patients will call the office from their vehicle once they arrive for their appointment.
- We encourage patients to wear and keep a mask on as they enter the building
- We will ask patient to then come to the front door where we will open the door for them
- Your temperature will be taken and recorded.
- Patients asked to use hand sanitizer
- Patients will be asked to rinse with an antibacterial mouthwash
- Once seated patients can take off their mask
- After the appointment we will escort the patient to the reception area to make an appointment.
- If changes to an appointment or discussion with staff is requested we prefer to have this done over the phone.
Like anything new these changes may take time to get used to, but we are here to help you through this process. Of course we will be providing emergency care throughout the COVID-19 crisis. Our office voicemail has an after hours number we encourage you to leave a message on and we will return your call as soon as possible. At a minimum the office staff is here to serve and answer phones at a minimum of Monday through Wednesday 9:00 am to 2:00 pm.
We will keep you updated of any further news, and we expect further clarification from regulatory agencies this week. You’ll be hearing from us soon. Before we open we will be calling you to reschedule your appointment as soon as possible.
Thank you for being our patient. We value your trust and loyalty and look forward to welcoming back our patients, neighbors and friends.
Maine Coast Orthodontics Team,
Kirk Round, DMD