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COVID-19 Safety Measures In Our Dental Practice

A Note to Our Patients

To Our Wonderful Patients,

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. While many things have changed, one thing has remained the same: our commitment to your safety.

Infection control has always been a top priority for our practice and you may have seen this during your visits to our office. Our infection control processes are made so that when you receive care, it’s both safe and comfortable. We want to tell you about the infection control procedures we follow in our practice to keep patients and staff safe.

Our office follows infection control recommendations made by the American Dental Association (ADA), the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). We follow the activities of these agencies so that we are up-to-date on any new rulings or guidance that may be issued. We do this to make sure that our infection control procedures are current and adhere to each agencies’ recommendations.

You may see some changes when it is time for your next appointment. We made these changes to help protect our patients and staff. These changes are outlined below.

We look forward to seeing you again and are happy to answer any questions you may have about the steps we take to keep you, and every patient, safe in our practice.

While we understand there is a certain amount of trepidation in a dental practice setting, we are confident that we are providing a safe environment for our patients, our team as well as our community. We have always strived and will continue to strive to provide the best possible care, never cutting corners. If you have any questions or concerns, we encourage you to voice them to our team and/or email Dr. Gohel directly at drgohel@gumsbygohel.com.

Sincerely,

Dr. Gohel, Dr. Sinks and Team

1. Training & Education for Our Team

During this time, we are ensuring that our team is trained and educated on all safety protocols:

  • As a requirement mandated by the Dental Board of California, our team takes part in OSHA training every year. This ensures we follow all appropriate safety precautions necessary. Training entails reviewing proper sterilization techniques of our operatories as well as instruments. We have always upheld these standards and will continue to do so.
  • In addition, our team has also been refreshed on proper hand hygiene, including washing the top of the hand beyond the wrist and in between fingers and thumbs for at least 20 seconds. This is one of the most important ways to reduce the spread of the virus. Hand washing will be performed before and after every patient encounter.
  • Our team has practiced donning and doffing appropriate PPE, including the proper gloving techniques. During surgical procedures, we have always used individually wrapped sterile gowns and gloves. In addition, you’ll notice we are wearing face shields during procedures.
  • Any employee that is not feeling well is asked to proactively stay home until after symptoms have resolved (72 hours since last fever without anti-fever medications, and improved cough or other respiratory symptoms) AND at least 10 days have elapsed since symptom onset per California Department of Public Health. Employees will be asked to obtain a COVID-19 test to confirm diagnosis.
  • Temperatures will be taken at the beginning of each day. Anyone with a temperature of ≥100.4 F will be sent home.
  • A safety checklist had been created for our team to follow so that they arrive to work healthy and go home to their families without worry.

2. Recommendations for Our Team

Before coming to work:

  • Do not go in to work if you or any other family members are experiencing flu-like symptoms such as cough, sore throat, fever, etc.
  • Minimize any jewelry and/or accessories
  • If hair is long, tie hair up. Nails should be trimmed short and cleaned with every hand washing.
  • Consider bringing work clothes in a washable bag and changing into them at the office. Scrubs for the clinical team are recommended.

At work:

  • Each employee will be required to log their temperature and confirm they are asymptomatic. If the temperature is ≥100.4 F, the employee will be sent home and can only return to work 72 hours after symptoms resolve and it has been at least 10 days after onset of symptoms. These recommendations are per the California Department of Public Health.
  • Change into scrubs and work shoes (if possible plastic and wipeable or washable) as soon as you arrive
  • Ensure proper use of PPE including face masks throughout the day. During procedures, eye protection, a mask, face shield, gloves, and a disposable gown are required.
  • Avoid clutter (pens, phones, etc.) in patient operatories
  • Limit the use of personal cell phones in the office
  • Clean phone handset after use, especially if switching desks

After work:

  • Thoroughly wash hands and arms with soap for at least 20 seconds
  • Remove scrubs and place in washable bag
  • Wash hands and put clean clothes on
  • Sanitize phone, glasses, etc. A UV decontamination device is available for use.
  • Wash hands once more before leaving the office
  • Upon arriving at home, do not wear work shoes around the house
  • Shower when returning home from the office prior to engaging with loved ones.
  • Launder work clothes/ scrubs separately using hot water

3. Patient Interviews & Social Distancing

Before patient arrival:

  • Patients will be screened for any symptoms and risk of exposure when calling to schedule appointments and when confirming appointments
  • Patients will be rescheduled if showing any warning signs and/or symptoms, such as a cough, sore throat or fever
  • Patients are encouraged to call ahead and reschedule their appointment if they develop symptoms of a respiratory infection (e.g., cough, sore throat or fever) on the day they are scheduled to be seen.

To promote social distancing:

  • When booking patients, we are spreading out the schedule so there are less people in the waiting room. (A maximum of four people at a time).
  • We ask patients arrive alone unless a caregiver is necessary. For patients undergoing IV sedation, their ride may accompany the patient only to check in, but will not be allowed to wait in the reception area. Rides will be called as per usual approximately 15-30 mins before the end of the procedure. The sedated patient will be escorted to the ride’s car by an assistant and post-op instructions will be reviewed car-side.
  • Patients may opt to wait in their car or outside the office and can be contacted when it is time for their appointment. Please call our office when you arrive so we know you are waiting in your car.

Safety measures taken upon arrival:

  • Visual signage at the entrance door advising patients not to enter the facility when ill, to maintain a 6-ft social distance, and to wear a mask or face covering prior to entering will be posted.
  • If a patient does not have a mask or face covering, one will be provided. Though limited quantities are available due to demand; therefore, we request all patients to arrive with their own.
  • Tissues will be made accessible and instructions on proper cough and sneeze etiquette will be posted.
  • Patients are requested to NOT touch the inside of their mouths during examinations.
  • How and when to perform hand hygiene

ALL these measures can help to prevent transmission to others.

4. Measures Upon Arrival

Upon Entering the Reception Area:

  • Patients will be immediately asked to use hand sanitizer provided at the front desk and then not touch anything
  • Magazines and other reading material will no longer be provided as they are considered high-touch items and preventing spread of the virus is imperative.
  • Pens, clipboards as well as chairs will be wiped down after each use with disinfectant
  • Patients will be asked again about the presence of symptoms of a respiratory infection and history of travel or contact with possible COVID-19 patients.
  • Patients’ temperature will be taken with a non-contact thermometer. If the temperature is ≥100.4 degrees F or respiratory symptoms are present, they will be advised to seek medical treatment and their visit will be rescheduled.
  • Patients are asked to maintain 6-ft social distancing guidelines, sitting in reception area chairs accordingly
  • Light switches, door handles and countertops will also be wiped after each use.
  • A HEPA filtered air purifier will be circulating and cleaning air in the reception area.
  • As testing for the virus becomes more available, we will be incorporating this added benefit to screen patients.

5. Measures Upon Being Brought to the Operatory

Every effort will be made to seat patients on time to prevent patients from congregating in the reception area. We want every patient to feel that their concerns and needs were addressed. Sometimes this can take additional time. We ask for your patience as we try to accommodate everyone.

  • Patients will be asked to rinse with 1% hydrogen peroxide or .12% chlorhexidine rinse when brought back to the operatory
  • HEPA filter air purifiers have been placed throughout the back office to ensure air circulation and cleaning. Each of our air purifiers cleans a 300 sq.ft. area 3.3 times each hour.
  • All OSHA infection control measures will be maintained as we always have.
  • No other team members should enter the operatory during a procedure unless absolutely necessary.
  • Extra-oral suction devices with HEPA filters and UV light will be used during procedures to help minimize aerosols
  • We have made the switch to electronic charts to minimize paper in our office and minimize the spread of viruses.

6. Protocols After the Clinical Treatment

As always, our office has followed all infection control guidelines mandated by OHSA and will continue to do so. We have also added enhanced measures as outlined throughout this document.

  • Patients are encouraged to wash their hands or use hand sanitizer at the end of each appointment before leaving the office.
  • All non-disposable medical/ dental equipment will be disinfected according to the manufacturer’s guidelines.
  • EPA-registered disinfectant will be used where possible.
  • At the end of each day, a cleaning crew is brought in to disinfect the entire office and to prepare for the next day.

While we understand there is a certain amount of trepidation in a dental practice setting, we are confident that we are providing a safe environment for our patients, our team as well as our community.  We will always strive to provide the best possible care, never cutting corners, as we always have. If you have any questions or concerns, we encourage you to voice them to our team and/or email Dr. Gohel directly at drgohel@gumsbygohel.com.

 Rest assured, we will do our absolute best to ensure a comfortable experience and help you attain better oral and overall health.

Download the ADA COVID-19 Screening Form

As a reminder and way to protect others, please immediately report any signs or symptoms of COVID-19 to our office.

Download Patient Health History Form

As a reminder and way to protect others, please immediately report any signs or symptoms of COVID-19 to our office.