Letter from the Owner, Dr. Robin Bethell

05/26/2020

 

Dear Patients and Friends of Forest Family Dentistry: this page outlines the changes we have made to our protocols and our protective equipment during this pandemic.  As always, it is our core value to go above and beyond to prevent disease transmission in our offices.  We uphold the highest standards of cleanliness, and want to continue to go above and beyond for our patients.  Please know that on this date, there has not been a single documented incident of Covid transmission in a dental office setting in the world.  Other cities and countries didn't even close down their dental clinics (ie: Germany, Sweden, and some US states). 

 

I do not believe that dental offices have ever been an unsafe place for patients or dental health professionals. Dental offices were safe during the first SARS pandemic, the Ebola pandemic, and the HIV pandemic of the 80s because of protocols and controls in dental offices across America.   With appropriate controls in place, dental clinics are safe. There have been no transmissions that can be directly linked to dental care.

 

When we closed down on March 18th in advance of the governor’s executive order, we did so because we didn’t fully understand the virus.  We know a lot more now.  As we continue to study and understand the facts, we will update our protocols to reflect the evidence and to comply with government regulation. We dentists have always been focused on the prevention of disease.  We are implementing these extra steps to go above and beyond to ensure that our team and our patients are safe and feel as comfortable as possible.  

 

Please don’t hesitate to contact me at any time regarding these precautions.

 

Robin Bethell DDS

dentist@forestfamily.com

Changes to our Office in Preparedness for COVID- 19:

  1. Reception areas will be cleared of all cloth seats, magazines, toys, and transmittable objects.

  2. Reception counters will have aerosol barriers.

  3. All frequently touched surfaces will be cleaned with chemical disinfectants after every patient touch.

  4. Aerosol producing procedures will be performed in closed rooms with medical-grade air scrubbing machines and isodry evacuation.  Rooms will be disinfected completely before bringing another patient in the rooms.

  5. Patients will be sat in rooms immediately upon arrival.  No other family members will be allowed in clinical spaces, unless they are a minor or require a caregiver for treatment as outlined by the American Disabilities Act.  

  6. Infrared Thermometers will be used to check patients' temperature at the threshold to enter the treatment area.  

  7. If patients have over 100.5 degree temperature, we recommend the patient reappoints when they feel better and have received testing.  The CDC recommends that they go to:


Austin Public Health

PO BOX 1088 Austin, TX 78767-1088Phone: (512) 972-5010 Email Department

 

Advanced Aerosol Protection Measures:

  1. We will return to seeing patients in a slow and controlled fashion.

    1. Patients will be required to fill out questionnaire prepared by the ADA (Patient Screening Form).

    2. Patients will be given an appointment time by Scheduling team ONLY when items are completed including patient submitting payment information and insurance information to reduce face to face interaction at check in and check out.  

    3. For aerosol producing hygiene appointments, D1999 code will be billed for $10 to cover for all Advanced Aerosol Protection Measures until further notice.

  2. All patients will be required to wear a mask in the clinical areas while in the office when not receiving dental work. If you do not have one, let us know before entering and we will provide you with a face covering.

  3. Clear demarcations will be made between clinical spaces that are high risk for aerosols and low risk for aerosols.

  4. All communications with patients will be done digitally through email, phone, or computer.  

 

PPE Requirements for Our Team Members (not for our patients):

  1. Mask with frame or respirator: employees will be required to wear a surgical mask with 3d printed frame (n95 equivalent) OR wear a N95 or KN95 respirator when in demarcated treatment areas at all times.  Masks will be put on before entering the treatment areas.

  2. Disposable gown or reusable coat/gowns covering wrists will be put on inside of treatment areas as shown by the CDC guidelines for gowns.  Gowns will not be allowed EVER outside of treatment areas.  This will be heavily enforced as it could put other team members at risk.

  3. Eye protection (loupes, glasses, and face shields) will be required when working on or with patients.  Should be placed in their cases or bags before exiting the treatment areas (loupes: bring box into room and put them on there).

  4. Face Shields will be made available when they arrive.  Over 150 have been ordered.  They will be assigned to you, and it is your responsibility to keep them safe.  You can also purchase your own and bring it to work in your “Go Bag."

  5. Booties will be provided as they become available.  If they are not available, you will be required to remove your shoes and put a change of shoes before leaving to go home.  

  6. Gloves will be worn when treating patients, disinfecting rooms, or touching fomites (objects that are shared with patients or team members) when inside the treatment area.

  7. Surgical air scrubbing machines will be moved in every closed room when performing procedures that produce aerosols (use handpieces or ultrasonic/cavitron in mouth).

  8. Head covering is not required, but will be recommended if you do not wish to wash your hair nightly.  

 

Dentists, Hygienists, RDAs, Sterile Technicians:

  1. Must be trained in ALL new protocols as outlined by the ADA and CDC requirements as well as our own office requirements and signed off on by Lead RDAs and Doctors before returning to patient care.

  2. Will bring a bag (Go Bag with name or obvious markings for identity) from home with a change of clothes every day.  They will be required to change out of PPE upon leaving clinical areas, and out of scrubs before returning to their vehicles.  They will be instructed to bring laundered and cleaned scrubs every day.  Personally, I walk in the door, remove my shoes, and go straight to the shower to soap and scrub before engaging my family members if I have been exposed to patients. 

  3. We will be giving all team members name tags to wear with a picture of their smiling face and position so that team members and patients can see our faces and know our responsibilities.  Coats will be issued as soon as we have them available.  

  4. At the beginning of shift temperature will be taken and logged using the ADA interim guidance. 

AS of 05/06/2020 ALL our locations will be open for regular hours.

Please watch the video below for new protocols. At this time, we are seeing all patients who need dental treatment. We are tentatively expecting patients for dental cleaning starting on 05/18/2020. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 forest family

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