May 26, 2020

May 26, 2020
Posted on 05/26/2020

We are beyond ready to get back to work and see everyone that we have missed so much! We hope this letter finds everyone healthy, and prepared to ease back into regular routines. Much has changed since we saw you last. The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted everyone’s lives and so many events. We want to update you on our office, our re-opening to routine care and the steps we are taking to ensure we provide a safe environment for our patients and our team.

We have recently begun rescheduling patients based on a review of each person’s unique treatment needs, as well as the timing of each patient’s cancelled visits. We ask for your patience, virtually every patient has had their appointments cancelled over the last 10 weeks. We know everyone has a strong desire to get your treatment back on track. Just like everything during this COVID-19 event, we will be evaluating and adjusting as we move forward.

Please do not call our office to make an appointment. Our team will reach out to you based on direct guidance from Dr. Rob. Thank you to those who responded to our requests for photographs, and virtual appointments. 

We have always prioritized safety and minimization of infection transmission. We have always operated under the assumption that any patient entering our orthodontic office may have a transmissible disease.

Our protocols have always followed the guidelines provided by Cal/OSHA, CDC, the American Association of Orthodontics, and national and state dental associations. During the pandemic, additional recommendations have been made for health care providers. We are following the added guidelines to provide the safest environment for our patients and team.

As you can imagine, our initial schedule will be significantly reduced to comply with various social distancing protocols – patients and appointments will be more limited. We will be very firm in our processes and procedures, but this will benefit everyone. The office procedures have temporarily changed, and will include:

Visits

We will only be seeing patients in our Antioch location at least until the end of July. The Antioch office is bigger, which allows us to see more patients, while still maintaining social distancing. The parking situation is also more user friendly.

  • The day before your visit, you will receive a text link to a wellness form from our communications system. You must fill out this form prior to your visit.
  • When you arrive for your appointment, please stay in your car. Text our office upon your arrival. When we are ready for you, our Patient Concierge will meet you outside to complete the pre-visit screening.
  • We want to remind you to please wear a face covering to your appointment.
  •  Your temperature will be taken by our Concierge when you enter our office using a touchless thermometer. If your temp is over 100.4 degrees F, you will be asked to leave our office, and not return for the specified 14 day self-quarantine requirement.
  • If answers to the health questions indicate recent exposure to someone with COVID-19 or if we observe specific symptoms your appointment will be rescheduled.
  • We request that only the patient being treated enter the office. The only exception for this will be for very young patients. Of those, only one parent/caregiver may accompany the patient. Absolutely no other family members or friends will be allowed inside. We invite our patients to bring their cell phone with them, so any post-appointment instructions can be shared at the end of the appointment.
  • Upon entering our office, all patients (and parent/guardian if applicable) will use our hand sanitizing station.
  • We ask you to maintain the 6-foot social distancing guidelines when in the office until seated in the treatment chair.
  • Each patient will be  given a cup of peroxyl-based rinse. Our tooth brush station will NOT be available for tooth brushing, so please be sure to brush your teeth before your appointment.
  • Patients will then be escorted to the clinical treatment area. The designated assistant and doctor will perform the required treatment.
  • In order to preserve our personal protective equipment, neither the clinic team nor doctor will leave the clinic area. You may FaceTime with your child at the end of the appointment, or your child may call you on speaker phone so we can update you as needed. Brief written reports may also be provided depending on the situation so ask your child for it. If you wish to speak to the doctor or the assistant, please call the office. Depending on patient care, your call may need to be returned later in the day.

Daily Health Screening of the Team

  • We will take the temperatures of every team member, immediately upon arrival at work, and after lunch. Any team member at 100.4 F or above will be sent home.
  • Every day, each team member will answer the health questionnaire that our patients are required to answer. If any answers disqualify the team member, they will be sent home to follow the same procedures we are asking our patients to follow.

 General Office Changes

  • Many chairs in our reception areas have been blocked off to allow for proper social distancing
  • We will not be offering our self-service beverage stations, or any snacks in the office while we are operating under the current guidelines
  • All community sharing items, including magazines, toys, and the video game/iPad stations have been closed until further notice.
  • All common area surfaces, including counter tops, door handles and reception area furniture will be cleaned and disinfected on a more frequent schedule.
  • All team members will wear a face covering when in common areas and when interacting face to face with patients.Our reception desks currently have Plexiglas “sneeze guards” as a further precaution.
  • To minimize people in the office, we will not be scheduling your next visit as you leave. We will be noting the desired interval and we will reach out to you to schedule.

Due to this pause, you should expect that your treatment progress has been delayed, as has your estimated completion date - we wish that were not the case, but it is the reality. There are no additional costs associated with extended treatment time due to the mandated shut down.

Our scheduling team will be reaching out to each of you during the next few weeks - yes, it will take time for us to schedule. Please do not call to ask where we are in the process.

I am again asking for your understanding and grace as we focus on getting each of our patient’s treatment back on track, while not exposing our team members or other patients to unnecessary risk.

We love all of you, here's to your health and smile!

Warmly, 

The Sheffield Ortho Team