Dear Smiles Northwest Patients and Community:
We hope that you are well and are looking forward to seeing all of you very soon! We are preparing our office and training our staff this week. We will reopen our office on May 11th, beginning with a limited patient flow. As we are incorporating new safety measures, we will start with an abbreviated schedule for the month of May to refine our patient care process. We plan to resume a regular schedule on June 1st. We greatly appreciate your patience and flexibility during this time.
Entering Smiles Northwest:
Patients will be screened the day before their scheduled appointment for symptoms of COVID-19. When arriving, we will ask that they wait in their vehicles until we are ready to begin their appointment. Patients will be required to wear a mask before being escorted into the building, where we will screen them again and take their temperature.
Our staff will be wearing masks at all times, and the front office is arranged to maintain social distancing. Although most of our paperwork is done digitally, should paper and pen be needed, we will have sanitized pens and paper. Items received from patients that cannot be sent digitally will be cleaned with either our sanitizing wipes or UV-C light sanitizer.
Clinical Protective Equipment:
We are committed to protecting our patients and staff at the highest level possible. The safety protocols at Smiles Northwest go well beyond the guidelines set forth by the state. All of our staff will also be screened daily, including having their temperature taken. Our clinical staff will use KN-95 masks, head coverings, and face shields in addition to our standard PPE. Items that are reusable will be sterilized with sanitizing wipes and a UV-C light sanitizer.
We have installed air purifiers with Carbon & HEPA filters and UV-C sanitizers in every patient treatment room, and throughout the office.
We will also use hypochlorous acid foggers to clean the air from aerosols generated. Hypochlorous acid is very effective in killing viruses and bacteria within minutes, while being harmless to humans and is hypoallergenic. You will find it commonly used as a disinfectant in eye care products, the food industry, and is naturally produced by your body’s immune system as well!
For our hygiene patients, we have already been using a 0.1% bleach ultrasonic solution as it has been shown to be effective in killing bacteria that cause gum disease. This is also the concentration at which the CDC recommends for disinfecting against COVID-19. In addition to the air purifiers, hypochlorous acid foggers, and bleach solution, we are also implementing additional suction devices to further protect patients and staff.
Additional time will be added to our appointments in order to disinfect our treatment rooms and screen patients adequately. We also have designed our schedule to allow for appointments that cater to patients who are at a higher risk due to age and/or medical history. These appointments are scheduled when there are fewer patients in the office and in areas of the office that are isolated from other patients.
We also have video conferencing set up in our consultation room to be able to connect with patients for Teledentistry visits, such as myofunctional therapy, reviewing treatment plans, and consultations.
Thank you again for your patience through this process. We greatly miss seeing you and are eager to reconnect with our Smiles Northwest community.
Drs. Chen, Dotson, and the Smiles Northwest Team