Updated: May 12, 2020
California, along with several other states, is beginning the process of resuming non-emergency and non-COVID-19 health care services and recently issued guidelines intended to help health care providers plan for their return to practice; however, significant challenges in the PPE global supply chain remain. Therefore, I am writing you today to let you know that we are still open for emergency only and plan on reopening fully on June 1st, 2020. Although we are not open for routine care at this time, I am available for emergency.
If you have a dental emergency, please call us at (650) 591-4408, (650) 365-3430 or (408) 744-6663, text us at (408) 744-6663, email us at email@example.com or contact us via our website www.visitdentalhome.com for immediate assistance. If you don't hear back from us soon, please try multiple modalities to reach us.
COVID-19 is not an outlier; it is now part of our interconnected viral age.
COVID-19 is part of a pattern of increasingly frequent epidemics that have coincided with globalization, urbanization and climate change. As society becomes more connected, collaboration and cooperation will be needed to reduce the impact of future epidemics. As you may have read on the news, the CDC director warned that second wave of the virus is likely to be even more devastating because it is likely to coincide with the start of flu season. However, I firmly believe that with the universal precautions that we dentists have been practicing since 1987, the applicable OSHA requirements that we abide by (even prior to COVID-19), some additional and innovative infection control measures, and heightened awareness, we will be able to ensure the safety of you and our staff as we navigate this international health crisis and any other epidemic or pandemic that may arise in the future.
Please note that most of these additional measures, if not all, will be part of our practice’s “new norm.”
Additional measures we are taking include the following:
Covid-19 Patient Advisory and Acknowledgement and Screening Form: you must fill this out online prior to your arrival on our website. Once the pandemic crisis subsides, this form will be modified and need to be filled out immediately before your visit to our office.
Credit card authorization form: you must fill this out online prior to your arrival on our website and update it if your credit card information changes. This form will help us minimize touching the phone, paper, keyboard and mouse as well as reduce cross-contamination. Please request your itemized receipt via email or via out website only. We prefer that you pay us via Zelle (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Venmo (@savannahkim). If you want to pay by Zelle or Venmo, please send the money and email or text us to inform us the name of the patient and the exact amount of payment.
Patient update form: you must fill this out online on our website prior to your arrival. This form must be filled out at least every 6 months usually at your routine cleaning appointments.
New patient forms: you must fill them out by printing them out and email the completed forms to email@example.com or fax to (650) 365-2690 at least 24 hours prior to your arrival.
For new patients or return patients that need to update their insurance information, we need photos of the front and back of your insurance card emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org, faxed to (650) 365-2690 or texted to us at (408) 744-6663.
“Waiting Room in Your Car”: please text us at (408) 744-6663 upon arrival and wait for us to call or text you in. Do not come into the office unless you get a call or text from us. Please rest assured that we will check your text as soon as we can and be patient with us. We will call or text you if we are ready for you prior to your arrival. We will no longer have a common seating area to accommodate for social distancing.
We will not be able to provide you with any writing utensils. Please bring your own if needed. Please help us become as paperless as possible in order to minimize contact and cross-contamination.
Our waiting room will no longer offer magazines, children’s toys, etc. since these types of items are difficult to clean and disinfect thoroughly. This will be part of the “new norm.” Please bring your own magazines, books or devices for entertainment to use in your car while waiting.
Monitoring all patients’ and their guardians’ temperatures when they come in to the practice using a contactless thermometer.
Monitoring all of the team members’ temperatures in the morning and after lunch using a contactless thermometer.
We respectfully request that patients under 18 years of age are accompanied by no more than one guardian.
Guardians with young children will be allowed to stay inside the operatory with the child but must wear masks at all times.
Guardians are encouraged to wait in their cars while their child is being seen. Once treatment is completed, we will call or text you. Please come into our office to pick up your child and discuss the visit with Dr. Kim before you leave.
Masks must be worn by all visitors to protect both you, other patients and guardians as well as our staff.
We will provide you with soap in the bathroom as usual, but please understand that supply is scarce these days. We have recently procured 5 gallons of hand sanitizer to be used in our practice, but please bring your own hand sanitizer as this is mainly for our team members to use throughout the day between patients (along with active hand washing with soap and water) in order to protect our team members as well as our patients.
Everyone that enters our office will be required to wash their hands with soap for at least 20 seconds before they are seen. If we have hand sanitizer available, we will offer it to you, but we can't guarantee that we will have hand sanitizer available at all times.
Coronaviruses are enveloped viruses; this means that they are one of the easiest types of viruses to kill with the appropriate disinfectant. We will clean and disinfect public areas such as chairs, bathrooms, and door-knobs frequently. In fact, we will leave the front door of the office open at all times when we are working in the office so that you don’t have to touch the doorknob. Since we will have no patients in the waiting room, leaving the door open will not violate patient privacy.
Per ADA’s (American Dental Association) recommendation, all patients six years of age and older will be required to rinse their mouth with 1% hydrogen peroxide before receiving any dental exams or treatment. For younger patients, we will wipe their mouths with 1% hydrogen peroxide before any dental exam or treatment because the COVID-19 virus is vulnerable to oxidation.
For restorative treatment, we will utilize an innovative, hands-free HVE suction device called Ivory ReLeaf that allows for safer dental and hygiene procedures by minimizing aerosol risk and risk of backflow.
All patients will be required to wear goggles or sunglasses during dental exams or treatment. Please bring your own. For those patients that do not bring them, we will offer you our sunglasses, which we will spray and wipe, after each patient’s use, using a product that kills all germs in 1 minute (BioSonic Wipeout).
Wiping down all surfaces that receive patient contact continually throughout the day using products that kill all germs in 1 minute (BioSonic Wipeout).
Decreased number of patients seen simultaneously and longer appointment times. Our goal is to have no more than two families per time slot. This means that we will need to work at a slower pace than before and we will need to give longer appointments to our patients. This also means that we are not able to always offer you the most desired late afternoon appointment (3pm or later). We will give priority to high school students for our late afternoon slots once school resumes in August. Patients that are not in high school may be able to book a late afternoon routine cleaning appointment based on availability, but no more than once every 12 months.
In the future, we may be able to offer some evening appointments occasionally for routine cleaning patients if there’s a high demand. I may perform asynchronous exams. This option will be offered to low risk patients that have not had any cavities within the last two years and do not normally have heavy calculus. Within 2 days of your appointment, I will call you at the number of your choice after reviewing your records. If you do not answer, I will leave you a message. We will take a survey for the next six months from our patients to see if there’s a demand for evening appointment times.
I have been interacting with my patients using teledentistry for emergency cases during the pandemic. Teledentistry includes phone, text or email conversations. I will continue to practice teledentistry in the future.
We will have separate days that we do restorative treatment. We will not see any routing exam patients on these days and vice versa. We will still be seeing emergency patients every day we are in the office as well as off hours. It will be very challenging to offer our patients the most desired late afternoon appointment times as we will have a very limited number of those available. We will reserve these for our high school patients. Young children tend to do better in the morning as well instead in the late afternoon when they are tired.
It is very imperative that our patients show up on time as we need to maintain a good flow and see our patients in a timely manner. Please email, text or call us 48 business hours prior to their appointed date and time if you need to reschedule or cancel. We will strictly adhere to our no show policy ($100 no show charge if a patient does not call us 48 business hours prior to his or her appointed date and time in case he or she cannot make it). If you get sick and are unable to come in, please let us know. In case you have any other emergency situation and do not show up, we will require you to send us proof of your emergency via email or text if you want to get the no show fee waived.
Please schedule follow-up or routine care appointments prior to leaving. We would like to minimize using the phone as much as possible for our team members’ and patients’ safety.
If you do not schedule your next appointment when you are here, appointment scheduling and rescheduling must be done via email, text, or the contact us form on our website. We need to minimize answering the phone during our clinical hours to minimize cross-contamination as well as wasting PPE (personal protective equipment).
We will not answer the phone while we are doing clinical care. All the voicemails and missed calls will be returned within 24 business hours. So please leave a voicemail instead of calling us back. You can probably reach us much faster by emailing us at email@example.com, texting us at (408) 744-6663 or contacting us via our website. For emergency patients, we will set times to check our messages and emails throughout the day. Please remember that emailing or texting us will be the best way to reach us quickly.
Exiting the office thru the back door where and when possible.
Installing a sneeze guard at the front desk to prevent splashes and sprays in order to help mitigate exposure to COVID-19.
Increased Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) in order to protect both you and our staff. We are working on procuring all the necessary PPE in order to practice in the safest manner possible as directed by CDC and California Dental Association.
We ask that you notify our practice if your child, any other family member, or you have traveled out of the country, have been exposed to anyone with COVID-19 in the last 14 days, or are experiencing symptoms such as fever, cough, shortness of breath, fatigue or any other usual symptoms and that you postpone or reschedule your appointment for a future date.
The safety and well-being of our patients and staff continues to be our primary concern. We will continue to monitor the status of COVID-19 nationally and within our community to ensure your visit with us is a safe and healthy one.
I urge you to contact us if you have any questions or concerns. We can be reached by phone at (650) 591-4408, text at (408) 744-6663, email at firstname.lastname@example.org or our website www.visitdentalhome.com, and we will respond as soon as we can. Thank you for your consideration and for helping us do our part to avoid the spread of COVID-19 in our community. We look forward to serving you soon!
Dr. Savannah Kim