Greetings Smile Concepts Orthodontic Patients and Families,
We hope this letter finds you and your family in good health. We are beyond ready to get back to work and see everyone that we have missed so much! Our community has been through a lot over the last few months, and all of us are looking forward to resuming our normal habits and routines. While many things have changed, one thing has remained the same: our commitment to your safety.
Much has changed since we saw you last. We are all still coming to grips with the COVID-19 pandemic and events triggered by it. Everyone on the planet has been affected by COVID-19. We want to update you on our office, it’s measured re-opening, and the steps we are taking to ensure we do everything possible to keep our patients and our team healthy.
While our office has been closed, Dr. Alexander has been very busy working on adding the option of virtual appointments to our practice so that we can continue to communicate with any of you who had any questions or concerns before we were able to return.
We will be reopening on Tuesday, May 12, 2020. We will be following rigorous scheduling protocols and office measures to ensure the safety and well-being of you, our patients, and the team members at Smile Concepts Orthodontics.
We thank you for your patience during this time and we ask for your continued patience as we had to cancel numerous appointments. We know that there is a strong desire to get your treatment back on track as soon as possible. We will eventually, but it will not be as efficient as we are used to in our office. This benefits everyone. We will have to be very firm in our processes and procedures. They have been well-thought-out and reviewed countless times by Dr. Alexander and our entire team.
Infection control has always been a top priority for our practice and you may have seen this during your visits to our office. Our infection control processes are made so that when you receive care, it’s both safe and comfortable. We want to tell you about the infection control procedures we follow in our practice to keep patients and staff safe.
Our office follows infection control recommendations made by the American Dental Association (ADA), the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). We follow the activities of these agencies so that we are up-to-date on any new rulings or guidance that may be issued. We do this to make sure that our infection control procedures are current and adhere to each agencies’ recommendations.
You will notice that our waiting room will no longer offer beverages, magazines, children’s toys and so forth, since these items are difficult to clean and disinfect.
You will see some changes on your next visit to our office as procedures have temporarily changed to help protect our patients and staff and will include the following:
• There will be a limit to 30 patient appointments per day, roughly half of the regular appointment load. The points outlined below will lend clarity to this decision.
• Emergencies will continue only to be defined by pain or bleeding. For now, broken brackets and ill-fitting aligner trays do not constitute an emergency.
• Appointments will be managed to allow for social distancing between patients. That might mean that you’re offered fewer options for scheduling your appointment.
• We will do our best to allow greater time between patients to reduce waiting times for you, as well as to reduce the number of patients in the reception area at any one time.
• Our office will communicate with you beforehand to ask some screening questions. You will be asked those same questions again when you enter the office.
• Once you arrive for your appointment, please stay in your car, text the office, and let us know you have arrived so we can check you in at the front desk while you wait in your car until we let you know when you or your child can come in the office for their appointment.
• The front door will remain locked.
• Only the patient that is being treated will be allowed to enter the office. The only exception for this will be for very young patients. Of those, only one parent/caregiver may accompany the patient. Absolutely no other family members or friends will be allowed inside.
• We are REQUIRING ALL patients and parents or visitors to our office to wear a mask or facial covering before entering the office. Federal guidelines for social distancing and wearing masks in businesses continue, so bring the mask or facial covering you have been using.
• Your temperature will be taken by staff in your car once you arrive in the parking lot using a touchless thermometer. If your temp is over 100.4 degrees F, you will be asked to leave and not return for the specified 14-day self- quarantine requirement.
• A simple questionnaire assessing your contacts, travel, and well-being will be asked of all patients as well. Any question indicating recent exposure to someone with COVID- 19 or having signs and symptoms of the same will be asked to leave, and not return for the specified 14-day self-quarantine requirement.
• Please maintain the 6-foot social distancing guidelines when in the office until seated in the treatment chair.
• We have hand sanitizers that we will ask you to use when you enter the office. You will also find some in the reception area for you to use as needed.
• We have placed sneeze guards at the front desk and asked ALL our staff to wear masks and facial protective wear to maintain your safety and theirs as well.
• The tooth-brushing station will be used as a hand-washing/sanitizing station required of every patient before being seated. No tooth-brushing, only hand-washing.
• The patient restroom will be closed, so please prepare for that before arrival.
• Patients will rinse with a mouth rinse at a cup at the chair. Rinse 30 seconds and then spit back into the cup where an assistant will suction it.
• Patients will be seated every-other-chair in the office to maintain social distancing,
which is one of the reasons for the 30 patient/day schedule.
• We have placed partitions between each of the dental chairs to allow for containment of each area of the chairs during operation.
• We will also be operating one chair apart to allow for social distancing. This will reduce the amount of staff and patients in the clinic at one time, however, this will reduce the amount of patients we are able to see throughout the day.
• We ask for your understanding while we will try to address all of your treatment needs during your visit. Individuals with multiple broken brackets may not have everything completed during this visit due to strict scheduling times. If you have any broken brackets please call ahead to ensure there is enough time on the schedule to rebond the brackets the same day.
• WE LOVE OUR PATIENTS! We also love to chat with you at your appointment. Please understand that conversations will be significantly reduced to allow for social distancing, running on time, disinfection of treatment chairs and instruments, etc. If you need further information regarding treatment and discussion with the doctor, please request a virtual consultation with the Doctor or a phone call for more discussion about your treatment or your child’s treatment.
• We will not be providing our coffee/tea/hot chocolate station or any snacks while in this re-entry to normalcy time.
• We will take the temperatures of every team member, including Dr. Alexander, immediately upon arrival at work, and after lunch. Any team member at 100.4 degrees F or above will go home.
• Every team member will answer the health questionnaire that our patients are required to answer, and will do so every day. If any questions disqualify the team member, they will be sent home following the same procedures we are asking our patients to follow.
• You will find upon arrival that our furniture has been rearranged and that there will be less chairs in the waiting room to discourage a fully occupied room. You will also notice other changes made to ensure the health and well-being of our patients and our team.
We are so grateful for every one of our patients, and this time away has only served to make us even more thankful for each of you. You are the life-force of our practice, and this is why we are taking your safety VERY seriously. We would ask for your patience and understanding. Expect that your treatment progress has been delayed, as has your estimated completion time. We wish that were not the case, but it is. Please forgive us as we are focusing on getting each of you back on track while not exposing our team members or patients to unnecessary risk. If you have any questions, please feel free to call our office or call Dr. Alexander. We love all of you, here’s to your health and smile!
We value your trust and loyalty and look forward to welcoming back our patients, neighbors and friends.
Warmly, Dr. Keisha Alexander, Suagei, Stephanie, Glenny, Maria, Chris, Mercedes