We are excited to announce we reopened our office on Monday, May 11th for patient care. Your safety and the safety of our staff will be of paramount concern. The Virginia Governor has lifted all restrictions for Dentistry as of April 30th. The task force I chaired for the Virginia Dental Association finalized guidelines for dental offices in Virginia on Monday, April 27th. Our office will be meeting and exceeding these guidelines. Please be advised that appointments may take a little longer as we implement our new protocols.
Some of our NEW protocols include:
- Daily staff screening and temperature assessment
- Implementing a screening questionnaire prior to your appointment. While our screening questionnaire is designed around COVID-19 protection, please do not come to our office if you have a fever, cough, or respiratory symptoms from any cause, COVID-19 or otherwise.
- Prepayment options for appointments to minimize touch points at the front desk
- Please call our office from the parking lot upon arrival. If you are unable to call, please have a seat in one of our chairs outside the office door.
- Contactless temperature assessment for patients taken prior to office entry
- Requirement for patients to wear face coverings outside of dental care
- Request for patients to attend appointments with as few companions and children as possible
- All employees will be wearing surgical masks and/or K/N95
- Office door will be open for contactless entry
- Hand sanitizer will be available upon entry and exit for patient use
- All touchable surfaces will be routinely wiped with hospital grade disinfectant
- Observing social distancing behaviors outside of clinical care
- Plexiglass partitions in the reception areas
- Medical grade HEPA filtration in each operatory
- Staggered appointments with additional downtime to allow for thorough infection control and air quality
- Patients will receive a pre-procedural rinse to reduce bacterial load prior to dental care
- During dental care, clinicians will be wearing gowns, high level surgical masks and/or K/N95, goggles and/or face shields
- High volume evacuation to minimize aerosols for all dental care appointments
We are fortunate our office has private operatories; helping compartmentalize and limit community aerosol transmission together with HEPA filtration. We also have additional operatories we will now be including to distance patients as much as possible during appointments. Our practice has always prioritized quality over quantity. We do not overbook or double schedule patients. We have always scheduled appropriate times for appointments and strive to give all patients the attention they deserve. We will be following this same philosophy and scheduling more time to allow us to accomplish appropriate social distancing to decrease risk.
Patients in high risk categories such as compromised immune systems, lung or cardiac dysfunction, diabetes, obesity, and those over age 60 should personally weigh the risks before scheduling an appointment. We will be happy to discuss your concerns to decide the best individualized course of action.
These new protocols are designed to augment our strict sterilization and disinfection techniques already in practice. Dental offices have always practiced Universal Precautions which assumes all patients have transmissible disease. Our practice has always met or exceeded these mandates from CDC, OSHA, and the Virginia Board of Dentistry. Universal Precautions include but are not limited to:
- Debriding instruments via biosonic units, manual scrubbing, and packaging for sterilization after each use
- Sterilizing instruments via steam sterilization at 273 degrees Fahrenheit under high pressure
- Utilizing instrument packaging with markers indicating successful sterilization
- ‘Third party lab tested’ live spore sampling to ensure 100% success of steam sterilization
- Utilization of disposable treatment items when possible
- Main office water line has entrance filtration and dental chairs have individual filtration
- Equipping operatories with additional water filters that can shock dental water lines and routinely keep microbial levels low and provide water testing reports
- Wearing exceedingly high levels of PPE including surgical masks, gloves, and eye protection
- Treating operatories with hospital grade surface disinfectants and barrier utilization
DoughertyDDS has also paired with the Falls Church Chamber of Commerce to complete the Healthy Business Pledge through BioPrep Solutions. The Pledge signifies your safety is our top concern and we are contiunually striving to provide the best care in the safest conditions for you. The safety and comfort of our patients will remain in the forefront of each decision made at DoughertyDDS.
We are looking forward to seeing you all again and are excited about the opportunity to assist you with all your dental needs. We want to assure all of you that we will be continuing to follow the course of COVID-19 and developing the best strategies to provide you with high quality oral healthcare.