May 12, 2020
To All of Our Orthodontic Patients,
It’s been a long wait! We look forward to getting back to doing what we love to do! We miss seeing all of you and look forward to serving our patients very soon. The American Dental Association and California Dental Association has recommended limiting services to emergency care though the end of May. Because orthodontics is a service with a relatively long treatment time line, we have many patients with active appliances that require monitoring. We also have patients who need more urgent care. Our local Orthodontic Associations, the California Association of Orthodontists, and the American Association of Orthodontists are advising orthodontists to use their best judgment when providing care to patients whose treatment has suffered due to delays that could cause unfavorable outcomes. We are starting to see some patients with less-than “emergency” needs in late May. If you believe that your concern is less than emergency in nature, please visit kelleherortho.com and request an “Online Consultation.” You can take 5 quick teeth selfies so that Dr. Kelleher can review your photos. One of our team members will reach out to you with his recommendation until we can get you into the schedule soon. We are reducing the number of daily appointments for safety protocols and everyone’s protection – striving to get everyone back on track with regular appointments as soon as possible.
Hopefully, by July and August we will get to a “new normal,” of scheduling patients. We appreciate your understanding of the circumstances upon us all when working with our scheduling coordinator. If you need to cancel or change an appointment it is imperative to let us know as soon as possible, as it is critical we offer that appointment to another patient..
PROTOCOL CHANGES: We have always complied with strict OSHA mandated standards; however, we have taken additional measures in cooperation with the evolving updates of the CDC/ADA and county ordinances:
- Before Visit: Patients are asked to brush and floss their teeth at home before your visit.
- Reschedule if Sick: We ask that all patients experiencing flu-like symptoms (fever, cough, sore throat, nausea, vomiting, and difficulty breathing) reschedule their appointments.
- Limited Entry: We ask that youth/adult patients attend appointments alone and young minors attend with only one responsible party. For minimizing risks to all, we ask that siblings are not brought into the office at the same time of another sibling’s appointment.
- Social Distancing: We will plan to accommodate only 40% of the standard volume of patients usually seen, which will require 40% of our team members in the treatment area at any given time. To do this we will need to slightly widen our treatment intervals, which could slightly extend overall treatment times for finishing.
- Check-In and Screening: Please arrive with a mask on and have the patient check-in at the screening tent located outside our office door. Once the screening is complete the patient will be escorted into the office by our check-in coordinator or may be temporarily directed back to their car until called – in case appropriate distancing requires freeing up space in the office first. Before entering the office, our check-in coordinator will confirm patient health, and obtain their temperature (using a touchless thermometer).
- After Check-In: Patients will be asked to use hand sanitizer and then be escorted to their clinic chair.
- Post-Visit: Dr. Kelleher or your assistant will communicate the post-appointment report and schedule your next appointment. If a minor, one of our scheduling coordinators will call the responsible party to schedule at the end of the visit.
- Employee Health Screening: All employees undergo health history check-ins before starting their work shift. In addition, we will strictly enforce sick policies that require employees that have communicable illnesses to stay home from work until they have clearance by a physician to return and have received supervisor approval. If an employee ends up traveling to a country with a Level 3 (CDC) Travel Health Notice, they will be required to self-quarantine for 14 days prior to returning to work. At this time, all employees will be required to wear masks. Employees’ temperatures will be followed daily.
- Sterilization Procedures: The foundation of our infection control procedures has always been based on universal precautions, that are requirements established by the CDC. This states that all body fluids are regarded as “infectious” because patients with bloodborne infections can be asymptomatic or unaware that they are infected. This includes body fluids in airborne droplets from coughs or sneezes. Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) used in our office which includes gloves, disposable gowns, eye-protective wear with side protection, full-face shields, surgical masks and N95 masks (when indicated), are designed to ensure that no fluids can be passed between our team and patients. Strict surface sterilization procedures are followed to clean and disinfect all treatment area surfaces between patients, and after each use. Ultraviolet lights will be used for fabrics on chairs that could hold viruses. All dental instruments are disinfected and heat sterilized, in medical steam autoclave machines, in individual sterile pouches – which is our standard operating procedure.
- Common Area Disinfecting: All office areas are disinfected every hour. This includes a thorough wipe down of all hard surfaces, such as door handles, doorknobs, tables, chairs, bathroom fixtures and office counters with a disinfectant wipe.
- Temporary Closure: Toothbrushing stations, coffee, etc.
- Hand Sanitizers and Sneeze Guards: Hand sanitizing stations have been placed throughout the office and plexiglass sneeze guards have been installed at our front desks.
- Air Filtration: Medical grade HEPA filtration and air purification has been placed in our clinic area. Our units filter 99.5% of harmful ultrafine particles down to 0.1 microns in size. (This is much smaller than a virus). Further, we have additional negative pressure exhaust fans that pulls more than “normal” amount of air out of the office in order to allow fresh air in to replace it.
We appreciate your understanding as we strive to provide a positive, safe, and healthy environment. We look forward to seeing you and getting your care back on track to a really beautiful smile!
Dr. Kelleher and Team