Smileworks Orthodontics COVID-19 Reopening Announcement
Summary of New Protocol Detailed in Letter Below:
- Please text our office upon your arrival in parking lot at 703-383-0090. Stay in car for further instructions.
- All parents requested to stay in car. We will allow parents of patients under 10 or with special needs to come inside if they wish.
- Any parents coming inside must wear mask entire time. Patients are suggested to wear masks until seated for appointment.
- Temperature will be taken at the door for every individual entering our facility (this includes parents if they are entering).
- All individuals entering facility will be requested to wash their hands with soap and water for 20 seconds.
- All patients will be required to rinse their mouth with Colgate Peroxyl prior to appointment.
- All patients under 18 will be provided a Treatment Summary to take back to parents.
- Parents waiting in car will be called to schedule appointment as patient is ready to be checked out.
We are excited to announce that we will be able to resume normal operations beginning Monday May 4th, 2020. I understand many of you may have concerns about your safety as we all adjust to a new normal coming out of this unprecedented situation surrounding COVID-19. I wanted to share the steps we are taking to protect all our patients and our staff, which in turn helps us protect our loved ones at home also.
Before I get into details, I wanted to humbly request for your patience and understanding as we return to seeing patients. Smileworks Orthodontics was completely shut down for 7 weeks due to the Governor’s mandates. As you can imagine, this has caused a huge backlog of patients that we need to address. All our patients will need to have their appointments pushed back several weeks so that we can accommodate this backlog. What makes this even more challenging is that we need to maintain proper social distancing rules as we restart seeing patients, which prevents us from overbooking our schedule to fit everybody in sooner. Please note that all previously scheduled appointments will need to be cancelled. We will be contacting each patient in the order their previous appointment was scheduled to make their new appointment.
Please try to arrive 5 minutes prior to your scheduled appointment time. In order to follow proper social distancing guidelines and enforce the precautions outlined below, we need to maintain a certain flow in order to accommodate all our patients. We will be strictly enforcing our late policy where a patient will be rescheduled if they arrive more than 10 minutes late after their appointment time. We also need to ensure our staff has access to adequate Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) as we see our patients. We are doing everything we can to be well equipped, but there is a worldwide shortage of a lot of supplies. This means certain procedures may need to be cancelled last minute due to lack of PPE.
We will be introducing a new protocol for seeing patients as outlined below:
- Our waiting area is temporarily closed. Patients/parents are requested to text our clinic at 703-383-0090 when they arrive outside. Please remain in your car until our office contacts you to come inside.
- Once our office contacts you, we are requesting for only the patient to come inside. All parents are encouraged to stay in the car. However, we understand our younger patients may be nervous so we are allowing one parent to accompany our patients under the age of 10 if they wish. In the event a parent must come inside, we will be allowing for only one parent to come inside and no other family members may accompany the patient.
- Patients/parents will be required to complete two forms (a special informed consent and an updated health questionnaire) prior to being seen. The informed consent only needs to be completed once and will be kept on file. The questionnaire must be completed within 24 hours prior to each appointment. This will be emailed/texted to you ahead of time and patients can bring it in with them when they arrive. In the event the patients do not have it, they can complete it on site if needed. If the patient is a minor, parents will be requested to come in to complete the forms and then return to their cars.
- Temperatures will be taken for each patient prior to being seated with a touchless thermometer
- If the touchless thermometer shows a positive reading, an in-ear thermometer with disposable tips will be used to confirm this. Any patients presenting with a fever (defined as anything over 99.6 degrees) will not be seen for their appointment and will be rescheduled for a future date.
- In the case a parent is accompanying a minor for their appointment, temperature will be taken on the parent as well.
- All patients will be requested to wash their hands with soap and water prior to being seated.
- Our toothbrushing stations are also temporarily closed. We encourage all our patients to brush and floss their teeth at home prior to leaving for their appointments.
- All patients will be requested to rinse their mouths with a Colgate Peroxyl rinse, which acts as a disinfectant, prior to being seen.
- At the end of the appointment, all patients who are minors will be provided with an “Appointment Report” letting parents know what was done at the appointment and if something out of the ordinary is expected at the next appointment.
- Adult patients will be able to make their next appointment on their way out as always. Parents of minors waiting in cars will be called as the patient is getting ready to be checked out to make their next appointment.
- As recommended by the CDC, we will be sending all patients a health questionnaire 48 hours after your appointment to check if the patient is exhibiting any signs or symptoms of COVID-19.
We are also taking the following steps to enforce additional safety measures:
- We will constantly be running two large air purifiers throughout the office and have installed a better filtration system with our HVAC unit.
- We are using additional Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and will be changing them more frequently to protect ourselves and our patients.
- We are only going to be utilizing certain dental chairs at the office so that patients are at least 6 feet apart at all times.
- We are temporarily closing our restroom to our patients. If a bathroom emergency arises, please let one of our staff members know and we will accommodate you as needed.
- We will minimize the use of the dental handpiece (i.e. “drill”) as much as possible because this creates aerosol (pressured spread of oral pathogens outside of the mouth)
- Patients that are expected to have their braces removed will have as much glue removed manually with hand instruments as possible. Please understand some glue will still remain on teeth. We will go back and thoroughly polish everything after a few months when this situation is completely behind us.
- Patients in treatment with clear aligners will have their attachments in place until this situation is completely behind us. We will provide extra sets of the final aligners to use as temporary retainers in the meantime.
As outlined above, we are taking several steps to protect the well-being of our patients and our staff members. Please understand these policies are in place not to inconvenience you, but as safety measures to protect all of us. We will get through this together!
Once again, I ask for your patience as we resume operations. The past 7 weeks have shown me how much I truly love orthodontics and I am excited to be able to be practicing again. I promise you this will just be a small hiccup in your treatments and I will continue to do my best in delivering the excellent care and results you expect from me and my staff. I do not take your confidence and trust in us lightly.
Take care and stay safe. With virtual high fives,