This page will be updated as questions are asked!
Why do you feel it is appropriate to open at this time?
Governor Brown has allowed dental offices to open as of May 1st. In order to do this, offices must follow some guidelines and evaluate how prepared they are
Jackson County (as of 4/24/20) has one of the lowest number of COVID-19 cases in Oregon, at 49, in addition to having the state’s highest rate of testing per capita at the beginning of April. The area has done a great job at flattening the curve. We are confident that we can provide treatment and keep our staff safe by following guidelines laid out by governing authorities.
How is being in a dental office different than being anywhere else?
COVID-19 is spread through touch and aerosols, tiny droplets of water expelled by breathing that are suspended in the air. Aerosols can remain airborne for minutes or hours. In dentistry, when we use handpieces or ultrasonic scalers around saliva, we create aerosols.
This is not a new issue in dentistry, and we have always had certain precautions in place to protect our patients and staff. These include the use of high-volume evacuation, the use of personal protective equipment, thoroughly disinfecting all surfaces between patients, and a good air return system. While the infection rate of COVID-19 seems in line with the flu, the problem is the increased mortality rate associated with this virus.
What are you doing to protect my health if I schedule an appointment with you?
- We will pre-screen patients when scheduling for the possibility of infection or exposure to COVID-19. If any concerns exist, we will not schedule before 14 days have passed and a second screening has been performed.
- We will question whether you are at elevated risk if exposed to COVID-19 and may postpone care.
- Every patient at every appointment will be filling out a written screening as well.
- Please come to your appointment a few minutes early, alone. (Caretakers will be asked to leave after the patient has been taken to the treatment area, or wear a mask if staying with a child)
- We are asking the following of all our patients:
- Wear a mask in all public areas of the office (please bring one, we need to conserve ours for treatment).
- Wash your hands as soon as you enter the office.
- Check in at the desk for written screening.
- The ultrasonic scaler will not be used for preventive cleanings.
- We are scheduling fewer patients daily, to adhere to social distancing guidelines.
- We are having every patient use an antiseptic rinse prior to treatment.
- We are using Lysol in the treatment rooms after any procedure that creates aerosols.
- We are limiting the number of staff on site.
Other changes you may have already noticed:
- We have removed all magazines and toys from the reception area.
- We have re-arranged the reception area to allow for correct social distancing.
- We are using a disinfectant to wipe down all areas between patients at the front desk.
- We are regularly disinfecting hard surfaces in public areas, such as handles and switches.
I don’t feel comfortable keeping my scheduled appointment and want to postpone, is that OK?
Absolutely! We are currently rescheduling patients out 4 months, subject to change as the schedule fills.
What changes are you making in scheduling, and how long will it take to get an appointment?
We are scheduling fewer patients in a day, and will have fewer providers working, to be sure we can maintain social distancing and have time to effectively disinfect public areas as needed (treatment rooms have always been disinfected thoroughly between patients).
I need to be seen at 4PM and will only see my favorite hygienist, when can I come in?
Because of the unique situation we’ve been presented with, we can not guarantee that we can accommodate specific requests in a timely manner. The more flexibility you have, the sooner we can schedule you.
Are you going to shut down again?
Possibly. Being open is predicated on having enough personal protective equipment for our staff (which is why we ask that you bring your own mask). We are good now, but if there is a problem with continuing supply, we have no option but to cancel patients until we can get more. If COVID-19 rates start rising again in Oregon, the Governor could suspend all but emergency treatment. If these things happen, we will be in touch with scheduled patients as soon as possible.
What will happen with my Dental Plan?
We understand that many patients will not be able to utilize all the benefits of their Dental Plan at this time. We will adjust individually to allow you to utilize both of your benefits, provided you work with us to get you scheduled in a relatively timely manner when you feel safe doing so.
What if I’m losing my insurance and you can’t get me in before it’s over?
Unfortunately, we have no control over private insurance plans and agreements. We can do our best to get you in, but we cannot guarantee it will happen in your time frame. You can try contacting your insurance company and see if, due to the state mandated shutdown, they would be willing to extend the end date of the insurance as it could not be used. It’s doubtful it will work, but you never know.