Dear Parents and Patients,
Last Monday, April 20th, the Governor of Colorado announced that dental offices throughout the state could open up on Monday the 27th. The entire state started rescheduling their dental patients.
This past Friday afternoon (April 24), the Tri-County Health Department, Governor, and the Colorado Dental Association reconsidered and decided to further delay the opening of all dental offices in the state but excluded Douglas County. Our Highlands ranch office is now open. Our other offices will open on May 11th.
Again, we are just as anxious to resume your treatment as you are anxious to be seen. We are a highly regulated profession, and we are following official guidelines. Our new office procedures can be found below. Thank you for your support.
PROTOCOL FOR WHEN WE OPEN
Some general things to keep in mind:
As the governor described, we must do our part to open responsibly. This means that until COVID-19 is well under control, we will be significantly reducing the number of people that are in our office at any one time.
Please be patient, understanding, and as flexible as possible during this time period. There are thousands of patients who have missed their appointments, and we are going to schedule them in order of missed appointments, starting with the missed week of March 16th. As you can imagine, this is a massive logistical undertaking for us, and we are working day and night to start recovering from being closed for a month and a half.
WE WILL CONTACT YOU TO RESCHEDULE YOUR APPOINTMENTS, as this is the only way for us to orderly reschedule thousands of people in the order that the appointments were cancelled. We are creating a brand new schedule to help see as many people as we can per week, while at the same time seeing far fewer people at a time to help with social distancing. It is quite a challenge!
REQUIRED SCREENING BEFORE ENTERING OUR OFFICE
In accordance with CDC, ADA, and CDA recommendations, we will be screening patients before they enter our office, and setting up what medical and dental offices are calling "virtual waiting rooms" until we are directed otherwise. Sorry for the inconvenience, but we are following guidelines! To help maximize social distancing, we are asking that only the patient enter the office- siblings and parents should stay in the car. If a parent must accompany a young or anxious child, a child with special needs or a new patient exam, the parent will need to be screened also. Parents will be asked to stand or sit 6 feet away from our team members.
Anyone entering the office must be wearing a facemask, including the patient. Due to extreme shortages, we cannot provide facemasks or gloves. Also, make sure the patient brushes their teeth before their appointment, as we have closed our brushing station temporarily.
Please arrive 5 minutes early for your appointment, and stay in your car when you arrive. Please send the patient to our front door where we will have a team member conducting screenings. If they have stepped away please call the office and let us know you have arrived.
The screener will ask:
Has the patient, their family, or anyone you or the patient has been in close contact with, been diagnosed with COVID-19?
Does the patient have a fever, a cough, shortness of breath, or trouble breathing?
We will then check the patient's temperature with temporal (forehead), ear or infrared thermometer.
If the answer is "yes" to any of the above or your temperature is above 100.4 degrees, we will have to reschedule your appointment to several weeks out. If you know you are having any symptoms, please stay home and reschedule your appointment!
After the appointment is complete, we will discuss the appointment details with the parent or guardian while they are in their car, and will schedule your next appointment by phone, ideally before you leave.
Thank you for understanding all of these extra hoops to jump through! It is a time consuming, incredibly large change for us also, but we are following official CDC, ADA, and CDA recommendations for the health of us all. Please give me a call if you have any concerns with the above, I am always happy to listen. Your family's health has been and will continue to be our top priority.
THINGS MAY LOOK DIFFERENT IN THE OFFICE
The CDC currently recommends using alcohol based hand sanitizer between patients, unless hands are visibly soiled which requires hand washing. We are going to exceed the CDC recommendations by requiring assistants to sanitize every time they remove their gloves (even if staying with their same patient), AND to wash their hands in between every patient. Is this a bit redundant? Yes, but we have found that patients and families usually do not see us using the sanitizer (assistants often apply it in our sterilization room). We want to help not only make things more hygienic, but also more visible.
During this period of trying to contain the COVID pandemic, the CDA and CDC are working on releasing guidelines for dental offices to re-open. Depending on the procedure, you will likely see us in a variety of facemasks, face shields, disposable gowns, etc... This is going to be a fluid situation as the virus gets under control, and we will adhere to suggested and mandated protocols. Please don't laugh at us if we look funny! ?
You may be asked to sit in a separate treatment room or notice that we are not using every seat in our open bay. This is to help with social distancing and limit the number of patients in the office at one time.
Please be patient and understanding with dental and medical professionals during this time. We have your family's best interest in mind and are trying to protect you and the community the best that we can. At the same time, we are required to follow certain guidelines. There will be some who think that the dental and medical communities are "over-doing it", but we would rather error on the side of being overly cautious at this time. This is what I would want for our own family, and so far the vast majority of our parents and patients agree and appreciate our efforts.
Please feel free to call us if you have additional questions. Our doctors' cell phones are available on the office emergency line
Patient to be asked to fill out health questionnaire and informed consent. They can be completed HERE
PLEASE CANCEL YOUR APPOINTMENT IF THE PATIENT OR FAMILY MEMBER IS ILL
Brush teeth at home prior to appointment
Wear a mask to the appointment
Maintain social distancing and preferably only have the patient enter the office