Hygiene Schedule Challenges – May 30, 2020
We are all excited at the prospect of reopening in a few more weeks! With your health and safety as our top priority, we will soon be scheduling and confirming appointments with two goals in mind:
1) to accommodate new social distancing and safety requirements
2) to care for those of you at greatest risk first
Rebuilding the Doctor’s schedule is straight-forward. He will start seeing patients who have had emergencies during the closure and patients who were in the midst of treatment when this all started.
Rebuilding the Dental Hygiene schedule is more challenging because Cathy schedules her patients 3 to 9 months in advance and we had to cancel over 250 dental hygiene visits. Our plan is to triage and prioritize those of you at the highest risk for gum disease, infection, or a weakened immune system. In addition, because your health and safety are our top priority, we will also be seeing fewer patients in our schedules for a while to reduce the number of people inside the practice at any given time.
What does this mean for you?
If you already have a scheduled appointment, we may be calling you to shift the time of your appointment to allow for more time between patients or to ask you to move your appointment to a future date. We may also need to hire a second Dental Hygienist to help us get everyone back on track as soon as possible.
I know many of you will prefer to only see Cathy for your dental hygiene visit. She is so skilled, gentle, and caring. I will ask you during this process to please put that preference aside because in addition to this pandemic, soon Cathy will be having a hip replacement and will be out for the surgery and rehabilitation. I assure you that our new hygienist will be screened carefully and will be a kind, caring, excellent technician.
The health of your teeth and gums is critically important in staying healthy. Gum disease has been shown to increase risk for heart disease, artery disease, diabetes, and strokes. It also is an important reflection of the health of your immune system. That is why we have always emphasized teaching you ` the proper way to brush and floss your teeth, and have carefully tracked your progress with our dental fitness chartings and the reports that you receive at each of your visits. It is this data that we will use to select people who we think will not suffer from moving an appointment into the future.
I apologize in advance to all of you who may be affected by these changes but these are extraordinary measures for extraordinary times. Be happy, stay healthy and we will see you sometime in the near future.
In the spirit of health,
Rob Lipkowitz DDS
First and Foremost
Dear Patients present, past and future: We want you to know that we are here to answer your questions and take care of any emergency dental need you have.
We want to assure you that closing the office during the COVID-19 crisis is part of the public health strategy to enact social distancing, to slow the spread of disease and to minimize the impact of its spread on the medical system so as not to overwhelm it.
During this closure time we are adapting our infection control measures in response to the presence of this new disease in our lives. When we reopen we will be able to treat you safely and we will be able to protect our staff and keep us healthy so that we are here to care for you.
We will resume care and it will be the same superior care we have always provided!
New Appointment Policies
We will ask all our appointed patients to review a screening questionnaire for COVID-19 symptoms and exposure before confirming an appointment. If you have any symptons or concerns about your health- please postpone your appointment.
We are adapting new scheduling policies to provide additional time for arrival and to minimize patient overlap in the reception area, as well as to provide additional disinfection time in between patients.
On the day of your scheduled appointment we will ask you to wait in your car and call into the office when you arrive. We will then review the screening questions and make payment arrangements for your treatment before we invite you into the office. We will be using touchless payment methods and communications as much as possible.
Once we are ready to seat you, the front desk will call you back to invite you in and you will be greeted by you clinician who will do temperature screening, have you wash you hands and then seat you in a completely sterilized treatment room.
We will be wearing additional items of PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) that we have not worn in the past such as face shields and full gowns (when the procedures demand it).