Are you going to be safe or worried?
“We are ready for you, we are prepared for you, and we are safe.”
Are there any other people more important than me to get in?
“All of our patients are important. Your care is very important to us. We are happy to schedule you now.”
Should I postpone my appointment?
“You are safe in our office. If you are feeling ill, you should postpone your appointment. The safety precautions we are taking in our office will remain as they always have, as we continue to use standard infection control procedures, which now includes new guidance from the CDC and OSHA regarding the novel corona virus. The safety of our patients and team has always been one of our highest priorities. We are happy to serve our healthy patients as usual.”
Why were you closed down in the first place?
“The original goal of the reduction to Emergency Care only was to suppress the spread of the virus and reduce the use of protective masks, surgical gowns, and other personal protective equipment (PPE) that hospitals and clinics found in short supply. Many of you have been forced to wait for dental care and we deeply appreciate your understanding.”
What have you been doing during the closure?
“We have been working every day, taking this opportunity of time to learn everything we can about how we can keep you and us safe during the continued time of the COVID pandemic. We were also able to reinforce what we have always done when it comes to sterilization and infection controls, as well as implement additional steps to make sure that every patient can be assured a safe dental experience. We have been lucky to be able to meet weekly on Zoom as a team. Dr. Jeff and Dr. Elizabeth have been seeing or talking to emergency patients as needed. Alex has been instrumental in keeping our business running. We have also been lucky to be able to do some extra dental learning, watching online courses related to airway issues, Invisalign, and Myobrace.”
I’m concerned about having work done in my mouth during the pandemic.
I worry about my own health as well as the health of the dental care team during the pandemic.
I’m worried about contagion.
I am worried about getting COVID-19 (and spreading it to my family).
How are you able to keep your patients and your staff safe?
I am not worried as long as CDC guidelines are followed.
How am I protected if an asymptomatic person with COVID-19 is cared for before me? How are others protected from me should I be ill and not know?
“We understand there are concerns about safety regarding COVID-19. Rest assured, Eggert Family Dentistry, as always, will place the health and wellbeing of our team and our patients first. We will diligently continue to do what we have always done to ensure we are protected from the spread of ANY virus or other infectious disease. We are only opening because we have CAREFULLY planned for this. To ensure a safe and healthy environment for everyone, we are additionally following new directions of the CDC, OSHA, and the American Dental Association by implementing the following:
- Each team member will be screened with a temperature check and screening questions prior to each work day. Only healthy team members will be present.
- We will review health screening questions with each patient on the phone prior scheduling and at the time of the appointment.
- We strive to treat only healthy patients, if you do not feel well, please call us to cancel your appointment.
- Each patient will also have a temperature check prior to entering the office.
- Each patient will be asked to come with a face covering to their appointment.
- Each patient will be asked to use hand sanitizer at the start and end of their appointment.
- Team members will use strict hand-hygiene procedures.
- Each team member will be wearing PPE. You will notice more layers of PPE than in the past because of what scientists have learned about the COVID-19 virus.
- The reception room is closed during the pandemic and we are utilizing curb-side check in from the parking lot.
- The restroom is unavailable.
- We will limit visitors to the practice.”
How do I know the office is safe and fully disinfected?
I would like to see that things have been wiped down – the community pen, the electronic pen, the handles of the chairs, etc.
“Even before the COVID-19 outbreak, our office followed strict infection control guidelines that would have prevented the transmission of the novel coronavirus (or any other virus) to our patients or staff. In an abundance of caution, we have increased the frequency and thoroughness of our sanitizing procedures and we are following safety procedures recommended by the Center for Disease Control, American Dental Association, and OSHA. Our cleaning procedures include the electronic pen, the chair handles, and now we ask that you take any pen you use so there is no community pen. Any pen the team members touch is disinfected.”
I am concerned that the risk of the virus transmission is too high for the benefits associated with a routine check-up.
“Our hygienists have streamlined their protocols so that patients can return to their recare intervals, which are key in maintaining health and well-being. There are many articles noting that those with the highest levels of inflammatory diseases are the most at risk for contracting COVID-19. We are happy to be able to provide high level dental care to reduce whole body inflammation and keep you at your healthiest.”
I am concerned about not having a solid barrier between patient care areas because of the aerosols.
I am worried about the open bay operatories.
“At the current time, we are only utilizing one open bay-operatory. We have also installed HEPA air-scrubber units to eliminate particles in the air. As we open more open bay operatories we will add more HEPA air-scrubbing units. Each unit eliminates particles in a 500 sq ft area.”
I am worried about the health of those providing services and sanitizing.
I am worried that staff or patient will come to the office sick.
Will the team be tested?
What is the health of the staff?
I am worried about the proximity of staff that might be asymptomatic carriers of COVID.
“All team members are asked to stay home if sick and just like our patients, team members undergo a temperature check and health screening questions each day. Any team member who might start to exhibit signs or symptoms of the virus will be asked to undergo testing. We are happy to report we all have been healthy.”
How will I be safe if my mouth is open?
“All patients coming to the practice will be asked to wear a face covering, limiting the particles in the air. Patients will be ushered directly to a clean and sterilized treatment room. All clinical team members will be protected by eye protection, a tight-fitting respirator mask, a surgical mask to eliminate contamination, and often a face shield. This will mean if your mouth is uncovered, it will be your particles in the air. In addition, we have HEPA air-scrubbing units in the clinic area to eliminate particles in the air.”
What precautions are we taking to ensure the staff feel comfortable staying home if sick? Are we allowing for additional PTO?
“Team members are asked to do their part to keep the public healthy, which includes staying home if they are sick. Team members have PTO available to use.”
Honestly, I’m more worried about getting you sick.
I am worried about patients transmitting the virus to the team.
“That is sweet of you to be concerned. We have always protected the team with levels of PPE known to reduce transmission risk of any infectious disease. In this new time of COVID, you will notice us now wearing longer gowns, tight-sealing respirator masks, surgical masks to prevent contamination, and often a face shield. We will also continue to use eye protection. We feel safe and are ready to serve you.”
Should I wear a mask when I come to the office?
Should patients wear PPE to the office?
“We do ask that you come to your appointment with a face covering – a mask, bandana or scarf. We have to reserve our masks to protect our team. With everyone wearing a mask, the particles in the air are limited. We ask that you DO NOT wear gloves to the office. We will open all doors for you from the parking lot and will usher you into a disinfected treatment room. We will also help you obtain hand sanitizer before and after your appointment. This process will prevent cross-contamination better than if patients wear gloves to the practice.”
Making sure gloves get changed after using computers, touching lights, etc. I’ve noticed in the past that gloves get put on and then numerous things are done outside of my mouth and those same gloves go in my mouth.
“We want to assure you that the treatment room and everything inside the treatment room, including the computer keyboard, and the overhead light switch, are disinfected appropriately before you enter the treatment room. Therefore, if these items are touched with gloves on, the gloves remain clean before entering your mouth. Our hands are washed or sanitized before we don gloves to protect you. We wear gloves to protect ourselves.”
I want consistency with hand hygiene and I would like to see the staff wearing full face shields in addition to masks and protective glasses.
What will you be doing with gowns?
“We assure you we are consistent with hand hygiene, washing our hands before donning gloves and after doffing gloves. Please know, sometimes we have just washed our hands prior to entering the treatment room. We are wearing tight-fitting respirator masks to help protect the patient from us. Face shields do a great job of protecting our team from patients. Face shields are available for team members and will be used so long as the dental outcome will not be compromised. We have long gowns available now for team members that will stay only in the clinic setting. Gowns will be changed if visibly soiled. We are careful not to touch our gowns until they are properly removed, eliminating cross-contamination.”
Will you be doing a pre-rinse before my appointment?
“We have a pre-rinse available in the clinic. We are not using it routinely because there is no science to confirm it diminishes the risk for COVID-19 and the supply chain is depleted for many items, including pre-rinse solutions. If you feel most comfortable with a pre-rinse, we will have that ready for you, please let us know when scheduling.”
What is your PPE stock?
What is the availability of PPE?
“Thank you for asking. We have been working tirelessly to obtain PPE throughout the time of the closure, but the news is accurate in that PPE is in short supply. To help mitigate the need for disposable items, we have obtained washable longer gowns and face shields that can be disinfected. Should you be able to help us obtain more PPE, we are open to hearing about your contacts and suppliers.”
I am concerned that dental tools are being used on multiple patients.
What are you doing for safety and sanitizing?
“We have always maintained a high level of cleanliness and sterilization in our office, our operatories, and with our dental instruments, or tools. In addition to an ultrasonic cleaner to remove debris, we use an autoclave to sterilize our instruments which destroys all forms of microbial life, including viruses, and bacteria. The autoclave accomplishes sterilization by using steam under pressure. All instruments that are placed into the autoclave are completely sterilized at the end of the complete sterilization cycle and we ensure that the sterilization indicators prove that before using the instruments on another patient.”
What about the saliva in the air?
I am worried about other people’s saliva getting into the air.
I am worried about the transmission of body fluids.
“All patients coming to the practice will be asked to wear a face covering, limiting the particles in the air. Patients will be ushered directly to a clean and sterilized treatment room. All clinical team members will be protected by eye protection, a tight-fitting respirator mask, a surgical mask to eliminate contamination, and often a face shield. This will mean if your mouth is uncovered, it will be your particles in the air. In addition, we have HEPA air-scrubbing units in the clinic area to eliminate particles in the air. You might also notice additional high vacuum suction options available during your recare and hygiene appointment.”
Will routine care be put off while you do more urgent care?
“We will be addressing urgent care, however, we will also be prioritizing routine care to keep our patients as healthy as possible. Thank you for your patience as we work to get everyone back on track.”
How will you be in contact with us to change our appointments?
“We will be calling you. Please answer your phone as we have a number of people to contact each day. We really appreciate your attention to this important matter.”
Is my already scheduled appointment still on?
“We are currently reaching out to patients who have had to cancel their appointments due to the shut down as well as patients who are currently scheduled in the up-coming weeks to confirm appointments that promote social distancing.”
I have an appointment scheduled upcoming, will you be in contact with me about that?
“Yes, we will be in contact with anyone with an appointment scheduled. We are looking at patients’ health histories prior to calling to verify the potential need to reschedule due to high risk factors during the COVID-19 pandemic.”
Can I reschedule for later in the summer?
“If you feel the risk for you going out in public is too great during the COVID-19 pandemic, we understand that you may wish to cancel your upcoming appointment. However, please understand, we cannot predict our future availability at this time. Therefore, knowing we are taking utmost precautions, if you feel safe, we urge you to keep your appointment.”
How will you prioritize patients who all have determined decay/procedures?
How quick can someone get in that needs work done?
I am worried about completing my treatment, how do I schedule an appointment?
How delayed will our appointments be for a cleaning and check-up?
I would like to schedule my cleaning or check-up.
Will you be sending out routine reminder cards/texts for appointments in June to schedule?
“We are now open and seeing patients. We urge you to email us at firstname.lastname@example.org with what you would like to schedule and we will look for the best time available for you and work to get you in as soon as possible. Our phone availability will be limited in our early weeks as we work to contact a number of patients. We will not likely be sending out regular reminders as the scheduling is changing so much at this time.”
Can I make an appointment for the end of August?
“At this time, it is difficult to know how our schedule will look or if there will be mandated shut downs in the future. We are limiting any prescheduling at this time. If you have an appointment scheduled and you feel well and you feel safe, we urge you to keep your appointment.”
What will be done about the waiting room or how will patients socially distance?
Will we limit the number of patients in the office?
“Our new check-in procedures will assure social distancing. Due to various family obligations for our team members, we are currently only scheduling the clinic at approximately half capacity.”
What will happen with kids?
Should I come to my dental appointment alone?
“We need to limit visitors in the office to promote social distancing. We ask that only the patient enter the office unless absolutely necessary. Any visitors that are required will be screened and are asked to wear a face covering and sit in the treatment room with the patient. For children, we will do a phone medical health update and will attempt to communicate with the parents after the appointment to update about any recommendations.”
How would teledentistry work?
Will teledentistry be covered by insurance?
“When deemed appropriate, Dr. Elizabeth can gather your signs and symptoms via phone or video conference and if possible evaluate photos of your situation so you can be scheduled for treatment appropriately. Insurance coverage for teledentistry is unpredictable so we ask for payment up front. We charge $20 for every 10 minute interval of the doctor’s time.”
When can you re-open?
“We are re-open now. We have about half of the team here ready and waiting to serve you. While we will miss those team members that can’t join us now due to various family obligations, we look forward to the day when we can all be together again. That said, your dental health is too important to continue to put off, so working to get us ready to re-open was a priority for us.”
Will it be harder for the dentist to see with the new PPE?
“Dr. Elizabeth will continue to use her loupes which give great magnification to the tooth she is working on. You may see her without the face shield from time to time. We are wearing tight-fitting respirator masks to help protect the patient from us. Face shields do a great job of protecting our team from patients. Face shields will be used so long as the dental outcome will not be compromised.”
How will I be able to come in for treatment with all these changes?
“There have been many changes in regards to how all of us behave and how we have all been impacted during the COVID pandemic. This extends not only to dental treatment, but to restaurants, grocery shopping, and going to the movies. Rest assured we are taking new precautions to keep you even more safe during this time and even though we may look a little different in our new layers of PPE, we will continue to take the best care of you.”
Should I cancel my appointment if I am feeling sick?
Should I cancel my appointment if someone other than me is sick in our household?
“If you or anyone in your household is sick with signs or symptoms of COVID-19, or under quarantine for any reason, we would prefer to postpone your appointment for at least 14 days.”
Will there be a cancellation fee if I am unable to keep my appointment for reasons related to COVID-19?
“We understand that you are unable to control coming down with the virus. We still ask that you call us to cancel your appointment in order to give us as much advance notice as possible. However, if you do become sick, we will not charge for a missed appointment during this time.”
Have any of your patients tested positive for the coronavirus?
“No. However, should we get word that one of our patients who we had treated did test positive, we would thoroughly disinfect the entire office and follow guidance from the Minnesota Department of Health. To ensure we are treating healthy patients, we are screening each patient before treating them and we are postponing treatment for anyone showing signs of illness.”
What if I am unable to pay for my dental care?
“We understand that COVID-19 has put many of our patients into challenging financial situations. If you find it difficult to pay for your necessary dental care, we can discuss options to ease your burden. Would you be interested in learning more?”
When can I schedule with Dr. Jeff/Joanna/Cassie?
“We are doing the best we can right now to reopen while some of our team is unavailable given the current situation. We urge you to schedule with Dr. Elizabeth/Shelly/Lea now as the future is unpredictable and we would hate for your dental condition to get any worse.”
“Our current PPE supply chain only allows us to plan and schedule for our hours and providers currently available.”