As shelter in place regulations begin to lift across the country and we re-enter a post-COVID-19 world, our patients’ and staff members’ health and safety continue to be our strongest focus.
We’d also like to be transparent about sanitation standards in the health care space in order to ease any concerns you may have about seeing your dentist. Our practice has always adhered to infection prevention protocols set by OSHA, the ADA, the TSBDE and the CDC. These standards include:
- Regular hand washing/hand sanitizing
- Use of personal protective equipment
- Use of sterile instruments and devices
- Cleaning and disinfecting surfaces throughout the operatories and office
In addition to adhering to these standards, we are also taking additional measures to ensure health and safety:
- To keep you and us safe, we’re only seeing one patient in the office at a time. Everyone else (including anyone accompanying the patient) is asked very kindly to stay in their cars.
- We ask you to call us when you arrive and we’ll let you know when we’re ready for you!
New screening protocols:
- We want to take your temperature and record it! Not only does this give you information about how you’re doing, but it gives us information about whether or not this is the right time for your dental procedure. We’re also taking temperatures of our staff, to make sure the environment stays safe for you!
- We’re going to ask you to complete a screening questionnaire because, again, we want to know whether it’s the right time for you to have dental treatment or not. Our staff will also be filling out the screening questionnaire every day to ensure we’re healthy enough to treat you!
Technology that keeps us safe:
- We are attempting to take all our forms online! Please forgive any ensuing chaos as we’re developing the right platforms for this!
- If you’re not tech-savvy, please let us know, and we’ll be more than happy to find a way to help you navigate!
- When you arrive, everyone will sanitize their hands! We want you to sanitize your hands when you arrive, and we will too! We want to be on the same hand-hygiene page as you, and bring less of the outside world inside!
- Unfortunately, until the COVID-19 crisis dies down, the iPad stations we installed, will not be of use, as sanitizing these can cause the iPads to be ruined, but on a better note, you will not have to spend much time in the waiting area before being called back!
Use of personal protective equipment:
- We are asking our patients to wear masks inside the office! We know this isn’t fun in the DFW heat, but it keeps our environment safe for you and all our other patients and our staff.
- When it’s time to start your procedure, we’ll provide you with a hydrogen peroxide rinse to help your mouth be a safer place for us to provide care in.
Use of sterile instruments and devices and AIR:
- We’ve always adhered to excellent infection control protocols as an industry! But we’ve added a new feature, here at River Walk Dental: Surgically Clean Air – Air Sterilization systems!
- “Surgically Clean Air's purifiers use multi-stage air purifying technologies that work together to clean, purify and re-energize the indoor air. The six (6) stage filtration system captures dust particles, pollen, volatile organic chemicals (VOCs), gases, mold, allergens, viruses, odors (like formaldehyde and smoke), bio-aerosols, and many other pollutants that are found in the inside air in workplaces. The negative ion generator makes indoor-air feel more pure, clean and energized to help combat fatigue. For an air purifier to deliver its benefits throughout the indoor space it needs to move large volumes of air through its filtration system effectively without impacting those people that are closest to it or being too loud.” (Directly from the manufacturers)
- Not only does this air purification system filter the air down to 99.998% of particles 0.1 microns in size, anything that gets through the filter, gets destroyed using UV light and Titatnium Dioxide!
- It cycles all of the air in the room through the purifier within 6-10 minutes, so after you leave, we will be waiting at least 10 mins before seeing anyone else to allow all the air to filter through the purifier. We also allowed the air to purify for 10 mins before seeing you!
- Cleaning and disinfecting surfaces throughout the operatories and office
- This is a given for any dental office, but we’ve added a new feature, here, at River Walk Dental: Hypochlorous Acid Foggers. What? In the What?
- Water Electrolyzed Hypochlorous Acid is an all-natural disinfectant! It is already used to clean meat and veggies with FDA clearance. It’s also super green, and helps to kill bacteria and viruses in the air and hard-to-reach surfaces.
- Water Electrolyzed Hypochlorous Acid has been researched and it has been shown that “it inactivates viruses, bacteria, endospores, and fungi, is safe for human tissues (including eye, lung, and skin), is environmentally benign requiring no toxic waste disposal or hazardous material management, and yet is capable of degrading the infectivity of highly-resistant prions…equating to roughly a 99.999 elimination.” (directly from the manufacturers’ website)
- On top of using the Water Electrolyzed Hypochlorous Acid for hard-to-reach surfaces, we already use hospital-grade disinfectants for all surfaces to ensure proper disinfection, following the guidelines from the EPA and CDC in terms of using a disinfectant that is registered to specifically kill the coronavirus that causes COVID-19 and all other relevant pathogens.
- A lot of time and expertise has been spent in the news and by the CDC recently to evaluate aerosols (tiny/microscopic particles that can linger in the air from talking, singing, yelling, coughing, sneezing, holding your mouth open for dental procedures), and particularly oral/nasal aerosols; this is why everyone is encouraged to wear masks, to limit the spread of their own aerosols, and to limit how many aerosols you’re inhaling.
- We’re trying to limit certain procedures that may cause aerosols, as recommended by the TSBDE.
New features we’re implementing at River Walk Dental:
- We may use a rubber dam (only reveals your tooth/teeth that we’re working on), which limits what is exposed and aerosolized.
- We may use a super powered suction that also helps keep your mouth open. This can also prevent any pathogens living in your throat/mouth from getting into the air.
- We may use a funny-looking funnel when we’re using water-spraying instruments to help keep any pathogens out of the air.
- And on top of these measures, we have Surgically Clean Air Units, Hypochlorous Acid Foggers, PPE, and Hospital Grade Disinfectant.
This virus is “novel.” What does that mean? We do not know everything about it, and so we’re trying to learn as much as we can and be as protective as we can be with the information we currently have. Are you going to be this protected anywhere else in your daily life? Probably not. We want to provide your dental care in an incredibly safe environment. We want to provide your dental care, while also caring for our staff. Our staff cares for their families, and their families care for others, and so on. So, we will do everything we can to help stop virus-spread at River Walk Dental. We know that this might seem overwhelming for dental treatment, which is already hard to talk yourself into (for most people), but we’re determined to create a safe and healthy environment for everyone at River Walk Dental.
As I’m sure you’re aware, information changes by the minute in our post-COVID-19 world, and rest-assured that we don’t sleep at night until we’ve scoured the on-going research for new information; we’re staying up-to-date with ADA, CDC, TSBDE, and OSHA guidelines, but we’re trying to pursue only scientific research and not sensationalized news stories.
If you have any questions about our sanitation processes, please feel free to contact our office for more information.
We’re so happy to be opening again and can’t wait to see you!
The River Walk Dental Team