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COVID-19 OFFICE POLICIES AND PROTOCOLS
Last updated: 04/03/2020
Consistent with Governor Gavin Newsom’s statewide shelter-in-place order, the California Dental Association (CDA) put forward the following recommendations on March 20, 2020:
The California Dental Association strongly recommends that dentists practicing in California suspend all in-person dental care with the exception of emergency treatment, until further notice.
The purpose of this recommendation is to minimize the risks of virus exposure to patients and dental team and to preserve critical health care workers’ personal protective equipment (PPE), which remain in extremely short supply. Since these recommendations were released, the American Dental Association (ADA) has issued guidelines on what constitutes as a dental emergency, which include, but are not limited to:
– Severe dental pain
– Surgical post-operative osteitis
– Tooth fracture
– Dental/Oral trauma
– Dental treatment prior to critical medical procedures
– Final crown/bridge cementation (if your temporary loosens, we will see you to cement your permanent crown.)
– Biopsy of abnormal tissue
Your health as well as the health of Dr. Chalmers and her staff is of the utmost importance. We are screening all patients for known COVID-19 exposures or recent COVID-19 symptoms including fever, cough, shortness of breath, and loss of taste or smell. However, as you may be aware, a majority of people who test positive for COVID-19 are asymptomatic or display mild non-specific symptoms. Therefore, at this time all elective and non-emergent procedures will be postponed for your safety and the safety of Dr. Chalmers and her staff.
At this time, our policy is to see no more than one emergent/urgent case per day. This is to allow time to thoroughly prepare and disinfect the office. Fortunately the SMART mercury amalgam removal protocols Dr. Chalmers has had in place since 2007 (specifically our HEPA filters, P-100 respirators, disposable gowns and head coverings etc.) have placed us in an excellent position to implement the new stringent PPE guidelines to protect against aerosols.
Nevertheless, despite our enhanced infection control protocols, dentistry by nature has inherent risks as the transmission of COVID-19 seems to occur via droplets and aerosols. We will be providing care as safely as possible, however that does not eliminate the risks posed by the way our drills aerosolize oral pathogens. You as a patient have to exercise your own judgment with respect to your individual health risks. Dr. Chalmers is of course happy to discuss your individual concerns and health situation with you if needed.
Take care and stay safe!