Infection Control - Hamburg, NJ
Steps Being Taken By Our Office Against COVID-19
Our office is now open and we are looking forward to seeing you soon. We have been following CDC, ADA and OSHA guidelines to ensure the safety and health of our extended family that is you. Infection control has always been a top priority and make no mistake we take it very seriously. You have also seen it in your visits to our office. We are instituting a few additional guidelines and protocols put forward by CDC in the wake of the COVID-19 Pandemic. This is to continue to safeguard the health of our patients, our team members and our community as a whole.
New Protocol to be Followed at Your Next Appointment
We humbly request that you follow the steps we are taking to minimize the number of people at any given time in our waiting area, respecting social distancing. This is to maintain the safety and health of everyone in the office.
1. Few Days Before Your Appointment
You will be asked a series of questions that will be quick and easy to answer. We ask that you answer these questions honestly so we can make a conscious decision as a team to move forward with the next step. You will be advised to take your body temperature the day of your appointment and call us with any changes. We request you to wear a mask to your appointment. You will be asked to stay in your vehicle on the day of your appointment till you are called in. You can also find the pre-screening questionnaire on our website. We also request you to arrive ten minutes before your scheduled appointment to allow for the next protocol.
2. Upon Your Entry and Exit on the Day of Your Appointment
We strongly urge that you call our office before your visit in case you develop any flu like symptoms. We may ask that you wait in your car till we are ready to see you. We will repeat the pre-screening questionnaire over the phone, while you are in your car in our parking lot, so as to ensure there are no changes. You will then be asked to come into the office with a mask on. We will provide you with one in case you forget to get your own. We request you come alone. There are certain exceptions such as a minor or patients who need assistance. They will need to follow the same protocol as you. We kindly ask you come into the office with very minimal personal belongings. We are also allocating longer appointments for you so as to prepare and complete the treatment in the safest and most detailed manner. Payment arrangements will be done in advance to avoid delay and allow contactless exit from the appointment as much as possible. These steps allow personalized protocol to allow smooth transition from your car to the treatment room and back to the car to maintain social distancing.
3. Precautionary Measures We as a Dental Team are Taking to Protect You
We adhere by the protocols put forward by OSHA and CDC to maintain an efficient and sterile environment. These guidelines are put in place to protect against the spread of infectious diseases including Influenza and Coronavirus. Following is a summary of the steps we are taking as a dental team to ensure the safety and well being of our employees and patients.
1) Employee Health Screening:
Each dental team member/employee will follow a health screening protocol before starting work. In addition, employees must not come to work if they develop any flu like symptoms or have been around anyone with COVID-19 symptoms. They must be symptom free for 72 hours without the help of any anti-fever medications. In addition, clearance from a physician might also be required. Furthermore, employees who have traveled to any destination that is considered a hot zone will be asked to quarantine for 14 days before returning to work. Employees will also monitor their body temperature daily before the start of their work. At this time, employees will wear mask at all times. Employees will not leave the office with scrubs or work shoes on. The protocol is to wear street clothes when not in the dental office. We welcome our patients to ask us if we comply with infection control guidelines because we are confident that we will make you feel comfortable and safe knowing that we have taken every step to provide a sterile environment for you.
2) Patient Health Screening:
For the safety of everyone involved, we ask our patients to reschedule their appointments in case you develop flu like symptoms but not limited to cough, muscle pain, sore throat, malaise, increased body temperature, nausea, diarrhea, vomiting, difficulty in breathing. Patients will be asked a series of questions that is in compliance with CDC and the American Dental Association guidelines before the day of the appointment, upon arrival and also when seated in the dental chair. In addition, body temperature will also be taken. Patients will not remove their mask till treatment begins. The mask can be placed in a Ziploc bag. A pre and post procedural medicated rinse will be provided before and at the end of the treatment. Patients will be provided with hand sanitizer to rub effectively upon entry and exit and in between the visit. Anyone who refuses to follow these guidelines will not be treated. This is to ensure the safety of our team members and subsequent patients.
3) Infection Control in our Office:
We have always taken pride in following OSHA and CDC guidelines and are aware that a person can be symptom free and still carry infected air borne and blood borne droplets that can be dispersed into the air while sneezing or coughing. Any bodily fluids including blood and saliva are considered infectious. Hence we have always taken every precaution in the correct PPE wear to prevent cross contamination between patient and team member and between patients. PPE wear includes masks, gowns, and safety glasses with side-shields, face shields. To this armamentarium, we also include CDC approved masks and surgical caps. In addition, high intra-oral vacuum suctions, tools and enhanced air filtration systems in each treatment room are in place to capture aerosols during dental procedures.
4) Sterilization Control in our Office:
All dental instruments that can be heat sterilized is placed in an ultrasonic, dried, packed in individual sterilization pouches and heat autoclaved at a very high temperature. We use top of the line sterilization method. Our autoclave is tested weekly by an outside-accredited facility and random in house testing is done daily/weekly of individual pouches to ensure continuity of safety measures. There are countless disposable items that are discarded once opened or used. Never thought it needed a mention but during these times of uncertainty, it is best to put our patients’ mind at ease. Time, caution and medical grade disinfectants are used to clean every countertop, surface area. New plastic barriers are used to cover dental chair, tubings, control panels, keyboard, mouse, and intra-oral cameras to name a few. Be assured that when you are seated, everything you see has been cleaned, disinfected and will be used ONLY for you. The same process will be repeated when you leave the treatment room. We like to think as if one of us will be sitting in that chair next and what would we like to be protected with. This has been our philosophy since we started our practice.
5) Disinfection of Common areas:
Enhanced disinfection protocol will not only be followed in the clinical areas but also in the entire office. Unfortunately due to the current COVID-19 concerns, there will be no magazines, toys in the waiting area since they are difficult to clean. Remote control to the television will not be provided. We strongly recommend our patients to print forms, fill them out and bring them to their appointments to minimize wait time and handling of common items. All common surface areas including doorknobs, handles, counter tops are disinfected and cleaned in an efficient and timely manner daily.
6) Quality of Air Control in our Office:
We have further enhanced the quality of the air in our office. You will see units with HEPA filters and UV light purifiers that will clean and kill micro-organisms including bacteria and viruses in the air up to 0.03 microns efficiently at 99.97% and will remove air borne particles and allergens. The UV light kills airborne viruses such as influenza, staph, rhinovirus and works with titanium dioxide to reduce volatile organic compounds. Clean air is being circulated every 10-15 minutes. You can breathe easy knowing the above.
Finally, simple precautionary measures we can all take is to follow proper and frequent hand hygiene, proper cough etiquette, practice social distancing as much as possible even when we can return to some type of normalcy to continue to keep each one of us safe and healthy. We cannot wait to see you in our office. Even though this pandemic has consumed our lifestyle, there are small things we can do daily to maintain our daily health. We would like to remind you not to neglect your dental homecare. Continue to work with us as a team to safeguard and ensure your smile and confidence in facing the world. The mask might not be a statement forever but your smile will be.
We thank you for your continued faith and support during these challenging times and look forward to seeing you soon. STAY SAFE AND HEALTHY.
Dr. Kurian and Team.