March 21, 2020

March 21, 2020
Posted on 03/21/2020

Dear Sheffield Ortho Patients, Family and Friends,

As we navigate the challenges before us with respect to the Coronavirus and COVID 19 I wanted to take a moment to reach out to all of you and give you an update on our current status. My involvement in numerous organizations both locally and nationally has provided me the opportunity to gain a great deal of information on this topic. These groups have been in constant communication with one another and with those of us delivering care in our communities. The primary objective is for the safety and well-being of our patients and team members.

I will admit that Monday, March 16th did not turn out as planned. It was to be my first day back after knee surgery and I was looking forward to being with my team and seeing all of our patients. With the rapidly evolving situation I was forced to make some very quick decisions in light of information being provided to us by the California Dental Association and the American Dental Association. As dentists, we were asked to postpone/cancel ALL elective procedures. We were asked to only treat Emergencies and Urgent situations. Fortunately, orthodontic treatment rarely results in true emergencies—defined as significant pain, bleeding or infection. This postponement is currently set to last until April 7th, but it is likely more severe limitations will be put in place.

Since Monday the 16th I have spent numerous hours researching, reading and communicating with colleagues and our professional organizations. From all this I have come to the conclusion that by limiting our treatment to only true emergencies we can do our part to “flatten the curve”.  We are also doing our part to comply with the practice of ‘social distancing’ when we do have to see an emergency patient. We are still here for you if you need us. The current protocol for patients experiencing a true emergency.

  • We ask that you call or text our office at (925) 757-9100 so that we can triage your particular situation. We may ask you to send pictures as they are quite helpful.
  • We ask that no one come to the office if they or a family member is currently experiencing any cold or flu-like symptoms (fever, body aches, cough, and sore throat). Please do not come in if you are sick. We will still assist you in finding relief.
  • When you arrive we ask that our adult or teen patients come in by themselves. Any of our young patients may come in with one adult. All other family members will remain in the car. We will update parents of our teen patients in the parking lot or via phone.
  • Please verbally check in with our receptionist.
  • We will ask you to use the motion activated hand sanitizer units we have in the reception area
  • We will then escort you back to the clinic for care.
  • We will have patients rinse with a 1.5% hydrogen peroxide solution (Peroxyl) which due to its oxidative properties has been shown to reduce viral and bacterial loads intra-orally
  • We will perform the necessary treatment to address the emergency

This current situation is the most challenging situation I’ve been faced with in my 23 years of dentistry. While I’m not sure how long the current shut down in California will remain in effect I know we will get through this. I truly believe that by limiting people being outside of their homes, reducing large gathering and taking necessary precautions, wash your hands, sneeze or cough into a tissue or the crook of your arm and avoid unnecessary contact with surfaces, we can do our part to reduce the spread of this Novel Corona Virus. The goal of this is to reduce the number of infected people to a level that is manageable for our front line health care providers. Additionally, the current availability of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) is currently in short supply. By reducing the number of elective, non-emergent procedures the supply chain can provide the necessary supplies to our hospitals, urgent care centers and testing facilities. 

Please follow us on Facebook and Instagram for additional updates. We will also be using email as well.

I am extremely grateful to our patients who have responded with grace and understanding when we contacted you to cancel your appointment.  Your positive comments and words of support are also greatly appreciated. All of you have been on my mind constantly since we were so abruptly forced to shut down. I sincerely hope that all of you and your families are safe and healthy. Please make good choices and limit your contact with others.  I have a strong faith and I am praying for everyone during this challenging time.

Best Regards,

Dr. Rob and the Sheffield Ortho Team.

Some FAQ=

  1. How long will the postponement of orthodontic care last? At the moment it is set to go through April 7th. However, I will not be surprised if it extends longer. We will keep you updated.
  2. How will you get us back in for treatment? Dr. Rob will be reviewing all cancelled patients and create a triage list based on each patient’s unique clinical situation.
  3. How will you have the time to get everyone in? When we be changing current administrative/paper work/training days to active patient care.We will be moving patients not currently in active treatment out further in our schedule to open additional appointment times.
  4. Are there alternatives to coming in if we are still concerned? We are evaluating different virtual appointment options. We are hoping to contact some of the recently cancelled patients to set up virtual appointments. The current technology in orthodontic materials allows the wires to be active for many months in a number of situations. We can virtually evaluate things and if safe we can extend your next visit out a bit further.
  5. What will be different? Since I am quite sure we will still be dealing with the Coronavirus/COVID 19 for some time we will have to make certain changes.
    1. We will stagger appointments to allow for social distancing both in the clinic and the reception area.
    2. All magazines, coffee bar, water, iPads, video games and toys have been removed.
    3. The patients will check in verbally instead of using the computer keyboard or scanner.
    4. We will likely have to stagger appointments to allow for a higher standard of infection control in public areas outside the clinic area.
    5. Some appointments, such as braces off and repairs which generate aerosols will be confined to specific times to allow for special precautions. We will follow all OSHA and regulatory guidelines.