To our Practice Family:
A lot has happened in the last several months, hasn’t it? We appreciate your patience as we have been adjusting to the new protocols and accommodating the new way of operating under the rules put forth by the Minnesota Department of Health and the Minnesota Board of Dentistry.
We would like to remind you of our COVID19 Protocols and what we are doing to keep everyone healthy, as well as share a few thoughts about our current state of operations.
- As a regulated health care facility, we already follow CDC Infection Control protocols. However, we implemented additional infection control measures and industry recommendations in accordance with the MDH, MBD, MDA, and CDC.
- You will notice that we have removed materials from the lobby such as coffee stations and children’s toys, and moved the furniture to keep a distance.
- We have additional, heightened PPE and disinfection protocols.
- We have temporarily removed the brushing station, so you may prefer to brush at home before your appointment.
- Our front desk area has glass barriers, and our check-in computers and game iPads are temporarily removed. Please check-in at the front desk with a staff member when you arrive.
- All staff will have their own health screening and temperature checks daily, and no one is permitted to work if they are feeling ill.
- We have installed UV purifiers in our HVAC systems, added air purifiers in our clinics, and purchased aerosol extraction machines for procedures that may produce aerosols.
We ask the following of our patients and parents:
- Please do NOT keep an appointment if you have any cold or flu-like symptoms, including coughing and sneezing.
- Do not keep an appointment if you have or have been exposed to someone with COVID-19 within the last 14 days.
- We ask that parents/visitors conduct any necessary business in the office and then please wait in the car if waiting for a patient to complete their appointment. The exceptions to this would be if attending Consultation appointments, or if a patient requires a guardian with them due to their age or abilities. This helps to keep people from congregating in the office lobby.
- The patient and any visitors will have a health screening and may have their temperature taken. If health screening indicates any symptoms, we will reschedule that day’s appointment.
- Only the patient and staff should enter the clinic area unless the patient needs to be accompanied by a guardian for a special reason. That guardian will be required to wear PPE. Please notify us in advance if you need to enter the clinic with your child so we can prepare the PPE necessary.
- Masks are required to enter the office.
As we continue to look forward, we do so understanding that it is unlikely that many of the protocols put into place due to Covid19 will simply go away. Many of the protocols for increased PPE, disinfection, distancing, health screenings, and fewer people in the office at one time are likely here for a while. Practically speaking, this means that your patience with our patient schedule will continue to be needed The new protocols have affected our operations in two major ways.
- Wait times for appointments. Because there are increased PPE and disinfection protocols, there needs to be increased time between excusing one patient and seating another. We have tried to build that into our schedule, but we sometimes get backed up. It is not an option to not disinfect properly, so please have patience with us as we work as quickly, but as safely as we can. Also, because the nature of our business is to work in the mouth, we must be extremely cautious with staff who may be ill. If any staff is ill at all, they are not permitted to work. This means that staff is more frequently out while they evaluate the nature of their illness. This is to ensure we are not spreading anything contagious, but it also means that we may be working short-staffed that day and your appointment wait time may be longer than usual. We try to let you know if that is the case.
- Scheduling or Rescheduling appointments. We know that it can be difficult to schedule an appointment if you want one quickly or to reschedule if you cannot make it. Because we have had to adapt to new protocols, which include fewer appointments per day and longer disinfection times between appointments, openings in our schedule can often be 10 weeks out. Again, we know this is not convenient and we are doing what we can to mitigate it.
We hope that by sharing what we are experiencing, you gain a better understanding of how we are trying to keep you and our staff healthy, and our office staffed and open. We know there are so many businesses that are struggling to stay open, or that have closed altogether, and we are grateful for the opportunity to keep working and serving our practice family, even if it is slower going than we would prefer.
If we have learned anything over the last year, it has been perseverance and patience. We are grateful for you and your patience with us as we work as efficiently, but as safely as we can!