To my patients and your families:
With careful thought and thorough preparation, my team and I have decided to re-open the office to resume taking care of you, starting Monday, June 1st. We are happy to welcome you back, with appropriate caution. Our team is working hard to accommodate everyone who has had their appointments postponed. Please be as patient and flexible as possible, and if you are concerned, give us a call.
Dental offices have been leaders in disinfection protocol since the “universal precautions” were developed in the 1980s. While we cannot eliminate all risk of COVID-19 transmission, we have implemented a number of additional precautionary measures, outlined below, to significantly reduce risk, specifically with regard to the aerosol-based nature of COVID-19. My team and I take this part of our work very seriously, for your sake and ours. I am confident in these choices, which meet and exceed all recommendations from the CDC, State and County Public Health Departments, and the California Dental Association. Please do your part to help minimize risk for yourself, my team, and your community of fellow patients.
COVID-19 Dental Appointment Protocols
Please do not enter the office unprompted. When you arrive to the parking lot in advance of your appointment, please wait in your car and call our office, and we will invite you into the waiting room when safe. Please limit accompanying family members to one, only if needed. Pre-visit COVID-19 screening questions can be completed ahead of time via phone or email. Please enter the office wearing a mask, and if you forget one, we can meet you outside and provide one. Temperature and pulse oximetry readings will be taken in the waiting room prior to entering the clinical area. After your appointment, you will exit through the back hallway.
- Staff Testing: Tests are now available for asymptomatic health-care workers. All team members are tested at regular intervals until we have a better antibody test or a vaccine.
- Modified schedule: Limited number of patient appointments, staggered appointment times to minimize the number of patients in the office at once, and to allow ample time for disinfection and removal of aerosolized particles in between patients. This means your hygiene appointments may not be scheduled at the top of the hour. Since appointments are very limited, it’s very important that you give us 48 hours’ notice if you do not intend to keep your appointment.
- Source-capture aerosol terminator devices connected to medical-grade HEPA filters in all treatment rooms. These are powerful “vacuums” that are positioned above the patient, and suck aerosolized particles created by ultrasonic scalers and dental handpieces away from the patient and through the filter.
- Air purifiers with HEPA filters and integrated UV-C light in the waiting room, front desk area, and all treatment rooms. These are big enough to filter the air in each room several times per hour.
- Daily disinfection treatment with hypochlorous acid (HOCl) fog: This is a powerful but very safe product that is also used in hospitals and to disinfect food. In addition to air filtration and wiping down all surfaces between all patients as we always have, at the end of each day, we will use a nebulizer to spray HOCl fog throughout the clinical areas.
- Personal Protective Equipment for all staff, including N95 masks, face shields, scrub caps, and surgical gowns. We will look a bit different (I won’t have my bow ties for a while), but we still have our smiling faces. We will be adding a one-time $20 PPE surcharge, billed at your visit, for now, until the availability of PPE improves and prices go down. We hope you understand. This is an “opt-out” program – if it’s a problem for you, please talk to us about it.
- Common-sense clinical adaptations: All patients will be asked to rinse with 1% hydrogen peroxide prior to treatment. Whenever possible, high volume suction devices will be used. We will limit aerosol-heavy techniques as much as possible without sacrificing the quality of your care. For example, hygienists will use ultrasonic scalers only as much as needed to remove heavy tartar, then switch to hand instrumentation.
As we move forward towards a “new normal”, each person/family must determine their own comfort level. I appreciate that despite the above precautions, some of you may not yet feel comfortable returning to the office due to age, preexisting conditions, proximity to high-risk loved ones, or personal choice. If you fall into this category, please let us know well in advance of any scheduled appointments, and please do your very best to care for yourself at home. This includes thorough, consistent brushing and flossing, rubber tip use, and oral rinses or prescription toothpaste, if discussed with me prior. Please understand that I cannot be responsible for advancement of dental and periodontal disease due to deferred care. If you would like help weighing your dental risk, I can be available for tele-dentistry consultations as needed.
Thank you for your trust and support, and for helping us continue to love what we do. Let’s all stay healthy, patient, and kind as we move into this next phase.
All my best,Jeffrey A. Diamond, DDS
Legacy Dental Care