I first want to thank you for your patience during our time of closure. As many of you know, dental practices have resumed treating patients over the last month. I continued to be cautious through July as the Covid19 numbers in Fresno County continued to rise. As many of you have acknowledged with us, dentistry and dental hygiene really is on the front line of this global pandemic. I, like you all, have been bombarded with information that changes rapidly. I choose to ignore the outrageously political current environment, but even science is having trouble sifting through the rapidly evolving information coming out on this virus. It is a strange one, and there really is just a lot we do not know yet.
I have been treating patients with Jasmin, my RDA, one day a week through July. Beginning August 3rd, last week, I expanding my treatment days to Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday. Hygiene is back treating patients Monday through Thursday. Several of us in the office have school age children, and balancing work with childcare and at home learning has placed demands on us that we normally wouldn't have.
MISSED HYGIENE APPOINTMENTS
Jennifer has an immense job ahead of her. In regards to missed hygiene appointments, here is the reality. We were closed for 4 months, April though July. There are about 800 hygiene appointments that need to be rescheduled and moved forward. Keep in mind that August was pre-booked 6 months ago so there is very little space in August to get back in. For those of you who missed appointments in April through July, she is beginning to reach out to you and reschedule these missed appointments. If you have concerns, reach out to us. We will make every effort to get you all back on the schedule in a timely manner, but that appointment will be in the future. Not only does Jennifer have to reschedule all the missed appointments, but the she also has to keep the current schedule full and moving forward. Be patient.
PHONE AND OFFICE HOURS
The office will be open Monday through Thursday, closed Friday at this point. Due to a soft roll out, phones will only be answered Tuesday through Thursday. There will be two hygienists working every day Monday though Thursday. Dr. Doug will be seeing patients Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday.
COMMUNICATING WITH THE OFFICE
There are several ways you can communicate with us. The quickest, easiest and BEST way is by text to the office phone number at 1-559-224-9925. You can also send an e-mail to email@example.com. Dr. Doug is also available by text at 1-559-307-7154 and by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org. Of course, you can call the office directly Tuesday though Thursday. If we are unavailable to answer the call, you can always leave a voice mail and we will return your missed call as soon as possible.
If your e-mail is on file, an appointment reminder will be emailed 2 days before your dental appointment. If your mobile phone number is on file, you will also receive a text reminder one day before and one hour before your dental appointment.
I ask that you pay attention to your specific time. In order to stagger patient arrivals and adhere to social distancing guidelines for the safety of our patients, we are staggering appointment times. Therefore, your appointment time may have change slightly to accommodate our staggering needs. Please come to the front door and enter the office at your specific appointment time. Do not come in early. We have also eliminated some seating in the waiting room, and we are making effort to limit patient exposure with other patiernts in the waiting room.
SOME NEW COVID19 PROTOCOLS
Many of you should have already experienced what it is now like going into a health care facility. You can expect a few new things. Besides the staggered appointment and efforts to social distance in the office, we also have adjusted our schedule to slow down and allow for staggered appointments with more time in between appointments for treatment room cleaning and turnover. Therefore, we will be seeing less patients during the day. The treatment rooms are less cluttered, and you will see more equipment covered in barriers.
Upon your arrival at your specific time, we will be ready for you and in the waiting room to ask you some questions and take your temperature. We are also taking our temperatures and monitoring ourselves for Covid19 symptoms on a daily basis for your protection.
Masks are required to be worn in the office at all times. If you forget your mask, one will be provided for you.
We are utilizing room hepa filters throughout the office.
You will see us now wearing hair covers, with masks and face shields in the treatment rooms and elsewhere in the office.
There is also a chance that while you are at your appointment, you might notice things are a little more noisy. We are utilizing cold fogging with hypochlorous acid, made from electrolyzed salt and water, in between patient appointments to clean the treatment rooms. This technique kills viruses and bacteria in the air and on surfaces.
And finally, there is some new equipment in the treatment rooms, extra-oral suction units. These allow us to have hepa filtration 6-8 inches off your mouth in order to prevent the spread of aerosols that are generated when we are providing treatment during some procedures, mostly with the use of handpieces and cavitron teeth cleaning instruments that a hygienist will sometimes use.
A FINAL NOTE
I really feel strongly that patients with high risk underlying health conditions should probably not come into the dental office at this time. The two most concerning health issues are diabetes and underlying heart problems. Respiratory problems are also of a major concern and should probably keep you at home as much as possible. I certainly will understand if you choose not to come in for your dental care at this time. We all have different risk tolerances based on our own health and that of our families. Do not hesitate to contact me with any questions or concerns.
Be well, wear a mask, and social distance,
Dr. Doug Halloran