May 19, 2020
Office Opening Announcement
On March 16, 2020, Okanagan Dentistry was closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Now, on the recommendation of the BC Provincial Health Officer, the College of Dental Surgeons of BC, WorkSafe BC, and the BC CDC we are pleased to announce that we will be reopening our office using a phased approach starting on May 19.
Due to the nature of our closed operatories and large office layout, we feel that we can provide dentistry safely and effectively while minimizing the period of time that we will be in close contact with our patients.
We have made many changes to protect our patients and staff from virus transmission. Although you may find some of these changes inconvenient, they are to protect everyone from the spread of the virus.
All Staff and Patients:
Daily (or pre-appointment) screening for COVID-19 including travel history, symptoms, and vital signs.
Nobody with respiratory or flu-like symptoms will be allowed to enter the premises. If you screen positive you will be asked to self-isolate and call 811 to be tested. After the quarantine period your appointment will be rescheduled. In the event of a true dental emergency, arrangements will be made for you to receive emergent treatment in an appropriate setting.
Masks to be worn at all times by staff and patients outside of treatment rooms. Patients who are undergoing dental treatment will only remove their mask when necessary to complete treatment.
All contact surfaces including countertops and door handles will be wiped with commercial grade disinfectant as per the recommendations of the BC College of Dental Surgeons.
Large plexiglass sneeze guards have been placed in front of every reception terminal to protect patients and staff.
Spacing between appointments to allow for disinfection and decreased patient interaction.
Patients with appointments booked will not be allowed to use the waiting room and will be called in to the office once they have been screened for COVID-19 and their treatment room is ready. Parents and caregivers will be asked to wait in the hall or in the parking lot to minimize the number of people in the office space.
All transactions will be preferably dealt with prior to treatment to minimize contact in reception post-treatment. We will not be accepting cash as payment at this time. Contactless payment such as e-transfer and manual card entry is preferred. Barriers on the credit card terminal will prevent transmission in the event that in-person payment is necessary.
We will attempt in nearly all cases to send electronic documents rather than using paper to prevent transmission through surface contact.
Public washrooms are located in the hall outside the office for public use. Our building will be utilizing a day porter who will be disinfecting our public spaces with a focus on the bathrooms throughout the day. We encourage you to use the bathrooms prior to entering the office, being sure to practise proper hand hygiene prior to entering the clinic premises. Our staff bathroom is not for public use at this time, to prevent cross-contamination.
We will do everything possible to avoid contact with another patient by staggering the times that you enter and exit the operatories.
Personal protective equipment used during dental treatment will include: face shields, surgical caps, gowns, masks, and gloves.
A pre-treatment disinfectant rinse will be given to all patients prior to any procedure to minimize viral load in the event that you are an asymptomatic carrier.
While “aerosol-generating” procedures will be minimized during the initial phase of our reopening, use of a dental handpiece is often required to perform treatment. This type of dental treatment will be performed using rubber dam isolation wherever possible, using high volume suction at all times to minimize aerosol spread.
To protect your clothing from exposure, you will be draped with a long disposable cover during the procedure that will be removed and discarded before you leave the operatory. We still encourage our patients to go home, immediately change their clothing and shower to remove any contaminants in the event that they are an asymptomatic carrier.
Operatories will be disinfected thoroughly as always - all surfaces that cannot be wiped will be removed from the office walls (i.e. diplomas, art, etc.) and strict disinfection protocols will be followed between patients.
Until it is safe to do so, our hygiene team will not be cleaning your teeth with any ultrasonic scalers or air polishers. Although we are restricted to hand scaling only, we are confident that we can provide you with the same level of care as we always have.
You might notice that we do not offer to polish your teeth at this time. As mechanical polishing creates unnecessary aerosols, we will not be offering a professional polish at hygiene appointments. Although this may result in an inability to remove some of your surface staining, it is not advisable during the initial stages of the return to the “new normal.” As soon as we can safely provide a polish, we will!
The first phase of our reopening will be reserved for our most urgent cases only. Once we are able to accommodate a higher volume of patients while meeting or, when possible, exceeding all of the recommendations of health authorities, our hygiene and elective dental departments will open on a case by case basis.
We truly look forward to seeing you very soon, and please contact us at any time if you have any questions or concerns.
Your team at Okanagan Dentistry