LATEST NEWS • 8/28/2020
We are writing to give everyone an update on our schedules and services here at SLO Smiles. As announced via email and on our website, we are available for routine hygiene appointments again! We are taking all the necessary precautions to keep you safe. You can read about those efforts below.
We understand many of you are still waiting for calls to reschedule your missed appointments from the COVID-19 closure. As you can imagine, the number of patients that missed appointments during that time is staggering! We are working as fast as we can to get to everyone, but it is slow going, especially while taking care of our normal workday duties.
Also, we are calling when we have an appointment to offer. We returned to the office with full hygiene schedules and as we take cancellations, we are calling to offer those appointments.
Please help us by doing the following:
- If you are still waiting for an appointment, and are ready and willing to come in, please EMAIL us at email@example.com. PLEASE send an email instead of a phone call.
- If you have an appointment on the books and are not ready to come in, please email us now to cancel that appointment so that we may offer it to another patient.
- Many appointment times have been changed to accommodate the new guidelines. Be sure to double-check your email and text reminders for the correct appointment time. Your appointment card from six months ago may not be accurate.
We have arranged for some additional help in the office to review these emails and contact patients. We need to know who is ready for a visit, and who would prefer to wait so we can focus our efforts and make the best use of available appointments.
Thank you in advance for your cooperation. Please stay connected by enrolling in our patient portal. Make sure we have your email and cell phone on file so you will receive our digital updates and as always, stay well!
The Team at SLO Smiles
Your Health and Safety Are Our First Concern
WE HAVE ALWAYS:
- Followed all infection control recommendations made by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA and Cal-OSHA), the American Dental Association (ADA), the California Department of Health, and the California State Dental Board.
- Utilized one-use disposable supplies such as gloves, headrest covers, saliva ejectors, etc. whenever appropriate.
- Cleaned and heat sterilized all dental instruments and equipment between each patient use.
- Cleaned and disinfected all counter tops, handles, and operatory hard surfaces between each patient use.
- Minimized or eliminated any potentially contaminated aerosols produced by dental procedures with the usage of high-volume suctions.
- Separated dental operatory chairs by more than 10 feet and by the presence of walls and physical barriers.
- Provided hand sanitizers for our patients and visitors.
IN ADDITION, WE NOW:
- Screen all patients and visitors for any disease symptoms and with temperature checks.
- Have removed all books, magazines, toys, and coffee service from the reception area to reduce the potential for surface contamination.
- Require all patients and visitors to wear facial coverage in the reception room.
- Require all employees to wear facial masks at all times.
- Maintain safe social distancing between all patients and visitors by strictly controlling patient access and reception room seating.
- No longer allow caregivers, parents (except for very young patients) or siblings to accompany patients in the dental operatory to avoid unwanted contamination of any operatory and office surfaces.
- Meticulously clean, disinfect, and sanitize all dental operatory surfaces including the dental and operator chairs between each patient use.
- Provide additional personal protective equipment (PPE) to all employees.
- Frequently clean and disinfect reception room surfaces throughout the day.
- Have increased the number of hand sanitizing stations throughout the office.
- Continuously monitor the staff health and require daily temperature checks.
- Continuously monitor all federal, state, and local health and infection control guidelines for updated protocols.
As we navigate our new normal, we wish to provide you, our patients, with the tools and information required to make your dental experience as safe and comfortable as possible. Since face-to-face contact is limited for the foreseeable future, it is most imperative that we can communicate effectively with you electronically. For this purpose, please be certain that our front office is provided with your most current contact information.
Email addresses and cell phone numbers
All general information involving changes and modifications regarding office policy and procedures will be communicated to each of you via email and text.
Under the guidance of Governor Newson as well as the California Dental Association, we are providing dental care with some associated modifications and restrictions. We are allowing more time between patients to allow for a thorough sanitization of the dental operatory. Our appointment times are less flexible due to the requirements of social distancing, and it is imperative that patients arrive in a timely manner to complete pre-appointment health evaluations. Late arrivals will most likely require reappointment.
Due to the virulent nature of the COVID-19 virus and for the health and safety of our team and other patients, we are only able to schedule healthy and uncompromised patients for dental procedures currently.
We request any patients experiencing any of the following traits, symptoms, or characteristics to refrain from scheduling elective dental procedures at this time:
- Presently or recently feverish (>100.4° F) within the past 14 to 21 days
- Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
- Flu-like symptoms, such as gastrointestinal upset, headache, or fatigue
- Recent loss of taste or smell
- In recent contact with a confirmed COVID-19 patient
- Travel in the past 14 days to other regions affected by COVID-19
Due to the backlog of patients requiring care that has been delayed by the pandemic, we are only able to provide treatment and services for appointed patients. Walk-in patients will not be admitted. Any patient experiencing a dental emergency should first call our office (805) 541-0550 for additional instructions.
PATIENT CHECK-IN PROCEDURE
- All patients must arrive 10 minutes before the scheduled appointment time.
- Patients come to the front door for screening.
- Screening will be completed prior to authorization to enter the office, including a temperature check.
The screening form can be completed online no sooner than 2 days before your appointment time, with temperature check when you arrive. You can find the form HERE.
- Any patients or persons with fever, cough, or flu-like symptoms will be rescheduled and denied entry into the office.
- Facial masks covering both the nose and mouth will be required for all patients and individuals before entry into the office.
(Exceptions will be made for delivery personnel, infants, very young patients, or any individuals who are too young or immature to tolerate a facial mask. Please notify the office staff prior to your appointment if you are in this category.) Patients and visitors are expected to provide their own masks or facial covering. Any patient arriving without a facial mask will be given one to wear. Any accompanying guests must wait outside the office (exceptions will be made for young children and those requiring assistance).
- Only appointed patients will be allowed entry into the office.
Due to social distancing requirements, we are not able to allow unappointed siblings, additional relatives, or friends to accompany patients into the office. (Exceptions may be made in unique circumstances. Please call the office prior to your appointment if you feel your situation is unique.)
- Upon entry into the office, please sanitize your hands. Be careful to maintain social distancing with all other patients and visitors.
Although we sanitize and disinfect door handles, countertops, and other hard surfaces every few hours, the reception area cannot be sanitized to the level of a dental operatory. We recommend minimizing touching of your face and any reception area surfaces. Hand sanitization is recommended before exiting the office. Facial coverage should remain in place throughout your stay in the reception area. No food or drinks are allowed!
A NOTE FROM DR. IAN
Please be assured that the health and safety of you and your family remain our primary concern. My team and I have spent many hours reviewing and discussing the ever-changing federal, state, and local health guidelines. I believe the procedural modifications we are enacting best address the new challenges of the COVID-19 virus and enable us to deliver dental services within this new environment in the safest manner possible for both patients and staff. We will continue to monitor changing health guidelines and will make additional modifications when necessary. Please feel free to call our office with any questions or concerns (805) 541-0550.
Yours for better dental health,
Ian G. Leopold, DDS