May 14, 2020
Our office will be re-opening soon! Please read about our new procedures and protocols for patient appointments.
Dear Parents and Patients,
We hope this letter finds you and your family in good health. Our entire team is looking forward to getting back to the office and providing care for our patients. While many things have changed, one thing has remained the same, our commitment to the safety of our patients and staff.
Infection control has always been a top priority for our office. We use state-of-the-art sterilizers and have customized stations that support a one direction sterilization system preventing cross-contamination of instruments. We maintain and monitor our dental equipment and water lines with scheduled maintenance protocols and weekly tests. These tests are run and then submitted to a third party for processing and interpretation of results. The infection control procedures we have always followed in our practice have allowed us to keep patients safe as well as protect our staff.
We follow the infection control guidelines set forth 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 remain proactive in monitoring activities of these agencies so that we remain 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.
The office plans on reopening in the coming weeks and is in the process of finalizing new policies, implementing additional clinical precautions, and working tirelessly to create a new schedule. The new scheduling process will take into consideration social distancing requirements and additional safety protocols necessary for specific aerosol producing patient procedures. We want to inform you that when we re-open we will have new precautions in place to ensure everyone’s safety.
As you can imagine numerous patient visits are being reappointed. Our office staff will continue contacting patients via email, text or phone calls in the coming days in order to schedule your next in-office visit. We ask for your continued support and patience as we highly value each one of you.
Our New Scheduling Format
Patient appointments are associated with specific treatment procedures. Some procedures have higher potential than others of generating bio-aerosols. Appointments will be prioritized by the procedure the patient will have at that visit and the level of aerosol production. Most orthodontic treatment visits are associated with low generating aerosol procedures and usually pose limited risk to our staff and other patients. Procedures that involve splatter of water or saliva have higher chances of creating aerosols and thus increase the risk of exposure to everyone at the office. We have revised our patient appointment schedule to allow for social distancing and provide specific scheduling times for higher aerosol producing visits. In an effort to do our best to comply with new guidance, our new scheduling format currently allows for greater time between patients, reduces exposure risk to both our patients and staff, and reduces the number of patients in our office at any one time. When taking all of this into consideration, it became evident that we had to consider a different approach when rescheduling patient appointments during these unprecedented times. We look forward to seeing you again and are happy to answer any questions you may have about the steps we have taken to keep you, and every patient safe in our practice.
As a result of the additional precautions we are following, we would like to make you aware of several changes we are implementing to further protect our patients and staff. A few examples are :
Before Your Appointment:
- We will contact you the day before your visit to confirm your appointment and ask some wellness screening questions. Please be aware ONLY patients will be allowed in the office; we ask that parents and family members wait in the car.
- ALL patients must bring and wear a mask to their visit. Our brushing stations will be closed, so please brush and floss thoroughly before you come for your visit.
- Do not eat or drink anything extremely hot or cold 30 minutes before your visit (it can alter your body temperature). Please be aware, your visit will be reappointed to a different day in the event of a temperature reading above >100.4 F
Arrival at Office:
- When you arrive, text the office phone number, letting us know you are here. Please remain in the car until we call or text you back letting you know it is safe to come in. Patients and escorts must be wearing a mask before entering the office building- NO EXCEPTIONS CAN BE MADE. When you come to our office, you will immediately be met by our Staff Greeter at the entrance of the waiting room.
- Greeter will take the patient’s temperature, ask Wellness Screening Questions, have you SIGN a brief medical history form and a one-time additional informed consent form, and then offer you some hand sanitizer to clean your hands. It would be appreciated if you can bring your own pen to sign the forms. NO PATIENT CELL PHONE USE WILL BE ALLOWED IN THE CLINICAL AREA, so please turn the ringer off. We may also require patients to use an antiseptic mouth rinse before being escorted to the treatment chair for certain procedures.
During Your Visit:
- Orthodontist /Assistant will be dressed in PPE and ready to perform your visit. IMPORTANT NOTE: All patients will need to wear their mask until we start the procedure and will be asked to replace it once your visit is done. After treatment is completed, our Greeter will escort you back out. (Or, parents will be notified via text or phone call to return to the office to escort their child back to their car.)
- ONLY PATIENTS will be allowed into the office. We understand the concern some parents or guardians may have about this policy, but please understand this is being done out of concern for your health, that of your child, as well as out of concern for our other patients being seen in our office. Also, we are required by the Governor's Mandate to keep the total number of persons in the office to 10 or under at any one time. If you have additional concerns or extenuating circumstances, please contact us before your appointment.
- We will give you your next appointment date and time after your visit. Please be aware that this next appointment may be booked out longer than you are accustomed to due to our current limitations on scheduling. If you need to change this appointment, please call our office.
Fewer Scheduling Options:
- We will continue managing all appointments and continue to prioritize aerosol-generating procedures to ensure your safety at every visit.
- Scheduling coordinators will be offering fewer options when scheduling patient appointments. If your following visit can be monitored appropriately with Telehealth, we may recommend that as well.
- Triaging of all patient emergencies will be mandatory prior to setting up an emergency visit.
- We will integrate Telehealth as a part of patient care, when appropriate. It will allow patient treatment to continue moving ahead with fewer office visits. If a Telehealth “visit” is determined to be an option, you will be able to access a VIRTUAL CONSULTATION TAB on our office website home page www.leonardortho.com .
Thank you for being our patient. We value your trust and loyalty and greatly appreciate your understanding during this time. We are VERY excited to start seeing everyone again soon!
Leonard Orthodontics Team