Smile Design Dentistry’s COVID-19 Policy
We support your family during and post COVID-19 by offering the following reassurances and dental visit guidelines.
Our oral health doctors have always been committed to the health and safety of our patients and staff at Smile Design Dentistry. This has always been and continues to be the case. We abide by “universal precautions” when treating patients. Due to the new coronavirus, we now offer this assurance within our new COVID-19 policy page.
July 25, 2020 Face Mask Update
As of July 25, 2020, per the MN Governor’s Face Mask Executive Order 20-81, people in Minnesota are required to wear a face covering in all public indoor spaces and businesses, unless alone.
“A face covering must be worn to cover the nose and mouth completely, and can include a paper or disposable face mask, a cloth face mask, a scarf, a bandanna, a neck gaiter, or a religious face covering. Minnesotans are encouraged to refer to CDC guidance on How to Make Cloth Face Coverings“.
The current COVID-19 pandemic creates a new world of fears and apprehensions for our society and dental patient services. As active leaders in healthcare initiatives, we are taking all recommended precautions to keep your family safe during dental visits and to prevent risks of infection.
The doctors at Smile Design Dentistry have missed your smiles and visits during the partial shutdown. We hope that our updated COVID-19 Policy message finds both you and your family in good health. Though much continues to change around us, Smile Design Dentistry remains committed to patient and employee well-being as we navigate through the COVID- 19 pandemic.
Additional Steps Taken to Keep Our Dental Office Visits Safe
We would like to bring you up to speed on a number of additional measures that have been implemented to ensure your comfort and utmost safety as we resume dental care. The modifications you will notice surrounding your future visits are all based on infection control recommendations made by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the American Dental Association (ADA), and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).
Dental Appointments and Safe Scheduling
Smile Design Dentistry’s dental office hours have returned to normal.
Please be understanding as we try to structure our schedule in a way that keeps everyone as safe as possible.
We are doing our best to care for your oral healthcare needs and keep you safe:
- Reduce waiting times in common areas to allow for social distancing.
- Allow additional time to properly comply with heightened infection control guidelines.
- Address the backlog of appointments from the COVID-19 closure. This may translate to fewer appointment time options.
- Please be patient and prepared for a 2-4 month wait if you need to reappoint.
Background Pandemic History to Immentent Patient Safety Needs
Prior to this, the most significant epidemic in the 21st century was AIDS. The mid-1980’s created a similar level of fear and uncertainty about our future. We came out of that with new insights and increased wisdom. It has taught us all how to live our lives in a safer manner.
How does the AIDS epidemic compare to the COVID-19 pandemic?
The greatest difference between the two is that AIDS is a bloodborne pathogen whereas Coronavirus is an airborne pathogen. We know that AIDS is primarily transmitted by unprotected sex, sharing dirty needles, tainted blood transfusions and poor protective measures. Coronavirus on the other hand is airborne.
At this point in time we are still learning more about its possible modes of transmission. History has taught us the tools to prevent, or at least minimize, the risk of the various bloodborne diseases. Presently, we are working to improve our protocols for living our lives safely and to reduce the risks of airborne diseases. A strong effort to develop a vaccine is in the works, and we will get through this with more tools in place to manage the next unexpected disease.
Smile Design Dentistry’s Standard Sterilization Procedures
What that means for you and your family:
- We sterilize all our instruments prior to using them on any patients.
- Our dental exam rooms are disinfected prior to and after every patient.
- As needed, we wear standard personal protective equipment (PPE) during all appointments.
- This PPE includes gloves, masks, protective eyewear, clinic scrubs, and proper footwear… all the considerate precautions that you are used to seeing at Smile Design when you come for your appointments!
Our Additional Sterilization Policy During the Coronavirus Outbreak
We are all in this together and share health safety concerns while facing COVID-19. In addition to our normal precautions to keep everyone healthy and safe, we have instituted some additional precautions that protect individuals during any infectious epidemic.
Our Additional sterilization practices during the COVID-19 Pandemic include:
- Reducing the number of chairs in our waiting area to comply with social distance guidelines.
- Continually disinfecting chairs and “high contact” surfaces in the waiting areas to prevent transmission between patients.
- Requesting personal patient screening responsibilities for any of the new virus symptoms prior to your coming in.
- We ask that you do not come to the clinic if you are experiencing fever, persistent cough or shortness of breath.
- All patients are asked – prior to treatment – to thoroughly wash your hands and swish a disinfecting mouth rinse when coming back to our clinical spaces.
- We limit the number of staff providing care.
- As your dental provider, we may use additional PPE when working with you. This is based on each patient’s health situation and needs. It may involve our use of office shields or higher level masks.
Precautions Patients Should Take during an Emergency Dental Visit
What should I think of to protect myself if I need to see the dentist during COVID-19?
To minimize the chance for exposures during coronavirus, please read the following before your visit.
* Additional PPE Costs
In compliance with recommendations to maximize the safety of both you and our team members, we are utilizing additional forms of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). This comes at a significant cost. As a result, you will see a small, supplemental fee ($15) for PPE with each visit. While the American Dental Association is lobbying for insurance companies to cover this added cost, if you do not have insurance that covers it, it will become your responsibility.
* Face Coverings
For all patients entering into a healthcare facility, the CDC is now requiring a face mask or cloth face covering regardless of whether they have COVID-19 symptoms. Please bring and wear a face mask or other face covering to your appointment. You will see our entire care team doing the same throughout your visit.
* Hand Hygiene
Upon entry to our building, please take advantage of the new hand sanitation station. You will also be asked by our care team to wash your hands at the beginning of your appointment.
* Reduced Contact for Check In and Check Out
We are doing our best to minimize physical interaction and expedite your experience at the front desk. With this in mind, we will be asking you to complete pre-registration online in the 24 hours prior to your appointment via a link we will send to your email. Please call or text when you arrive. Out team will let you know if there is adequate room in the reception area for social distancing. To reduce risk to you, we have also acquired iPads which we can easily disinfect after review and signature of forms that have historically been printed. You may notice that we have also removed magazines, toys, and so forth from our waiting area. These items are difficult to disinfect and thus pose a risk. Last, you may be asked to make your estimated co-pay prior to being taken back. This will reduce waiting after your appointment. You can just get on your way!
1. Smile Design Dentistry limits the number of people in the waiting room at a given time to maximize social distancing. This means reducing any non-treatment people if possible. To align with the Stay-At-Home Order, we ask that you refrain from bringing additional family members and friends along to your emergency dental appointment.
2. If you are experiencing any COVID-19 symptoms please do not come into the office.
3. We request that you do not bring additional people to your appointment with the exception of a guardian accompanying a child or special care provider. We have reduced seating in our waiting area to help with social distancing. If you bring others with, we may ask that they wait in the car.
* Previsit Temperature Checks
If possible, please check your temperature before coming to your appointment and call us to reschedule if it registers above 100.4 F. We will also be screening you for COVID-19 symptoms and taking your temperature before beginning treatment. If you have a fever or exhibit symptoms, we will have you defer your appointment. Know that all of our staff is being screened daily as well for your safety.
Staff will take your temperature when you arrive at the clinic as an extra precaution.
Specific Dental Services that Qualify as Emergency Dentistry
Currently, we are open for business as usual.However, in case you are wondering, this is what a dental emergency looks like.
What dental needs are classified as a dental emergency?
Dental emergencies include:
- Oral or facial pain
- Facial-space swelling
- Any dental or facial trauma impacting your teeth
- Newly broken or fractured teeth and crowns
- Broken orthodontic wires causing pain or trauma to gums and cheeks
While this is not a comprehensive list and the treatment rendered will vary case by case, we are here to assist you during this time. Please call our office from 8-5 Monday through Friday and our staff can answer your questions or get you in contact with one of our doctors to aid you with your dental needs.
Related Information from Smile Design Dentistry
Authorities to Follow for Updated COVID-19 Information
This COVID-19 Policy and Guidance aligns with current available information about COVID-19 and today’s situation in the United States and Minnesota. We stay closely informed as to reports of cases of community transmission, local and state mandates, and suggestions on how we can improve best practices to keep our dental patient’s safe.
This current COVID-19 policy expiration date is 1.31.2021. Updates will be provided at that time.
We are here to support you now and always. Our doctors practice safe and gentle dentistry; we look forward to returning to normal dental care in the future.
We are excited to resume your care and look forward to seeing you in the clinic. If you have questions or need help with an appointment, please call us at (763) 537-1238, email [email protected], or visit our website at www.smiledesigndentistry.com.
Thank you for being our patient. We appreciate your loyalty and look forward to picking up where we left off.