Letter from Dr. Nicolette Adressing COVID-19
As many of you know, on March 16th, we shut down our office following the recommendations of both the Ohio State Dental Board and Governor DeWine. Last week, our governor announced that dental practices could reopen. I’m sure you have seen hygienists or dentists on the news speaking about the dangers of this particular job due to the potential aerosolized virus. When you hear that the virus can be aerosolized, it simply means that when using a high-powered hand-pieces like I do, little droplets can become a mist of potential pathogens hanging in the air. This is the reason for all of our procedural changes.
With all of the mixed messages coming from the media, I wanted to take a few minutes to share my thoughts. First, let me share that we do, in fact, take this situation very seriously. My family is currently grieving the loss of my own father who just lost his fight with COVID-19, so it is without question that my team and I are doing everything we can to ensure the safety and protection of everyone who enters the office. I feel it is our responsibility to protect those who are most vulnerable, like my father, and those with special health concerns. Because of this, the office will be making several changes in order to protect and care for each one of you.
In the beginning our office will be open for non-restorative appointments such as dentures and crown adjustments, cleanings, and extractions. This will limit the amount of aerosols that are created. As we get PPE, (personal protective equipment) we will begin all other dental procedures. But, like all things right now, we need to be patient and gracious as we wait for our shipment. Of course, this, may mean we are scheduling and re-scheduling patients for a while, so please be courteous and gracious to my staff as they diligently reschedule you. In order to accommodate the most vulnerable patients, we are reserving the first two appointments of the day. If you feel that you would benefit from this, please let my staff know when you go to schedule. The office will be open until 6pm, Monday through Thursday, and until 5 on Fridays. These extended hours were created to accommodate all the patients we have had to cancel during this pandemic. Additionally, with our procedure changes, we will not be seeing as many patients a day. We will be scheduling patients so that they do not overlap and extending appointment times to allow for a thorough disinfecting and sanitizing process.
Additional changes in the office you will observe include:
- All patients will need to complete a pre-screening questionnaire when we call to confirm your appointment. Bear in mind, if we can’t screen you properly, we may not be able to see you the day of your appointment.
- Please call to let us know you have arrived, at which time you will be asked the screening questions again, as things often change overnight. A staff member will then let you know when we are ready for you. Please stay in your car. If you have a minor, be aware, we are not allowing anyone but the patient into the office. If you have questions or concerns about this issue, please discuss this with my staff during your confirmation time.
- You will be let into the office by a staff member. The door to the inside office will remain locked and we do not want patients waiting in the hall. Upon entering, you will be greeted, your temperature taken, you will sanitize your hands, and wear gloves and a mask provided by the staff. I know this sounds like a lot, but I promise you our staff will walk you through every step.
- We will collect your out of pocket and your PPE allowance. The PPE allowance is a twenty-dollar appointment fee, which allows us to provide you the best protective equipment as directed by the CDC, OSHA, The Ohio State Dental Board, and our Governor.
- Once you are in the office and all of the pre-appointment things are taken care of, you will be escorted back to the dental chair, where you will do a pre-rinse. In the back, you will see that my staff looks very similar to those surgeons you might see on tv. And although we look absolutely ridiculous, this is simply non-negotiable for me. Please know that we are wearing it because this is the only type of equipment that will protect you, our staff, their families, and those in our community.
- After your procedure, your future appointment will be made from the dental chair, so there is no need to travel back to the front desk. We will then escort you to our back door. If you have a minor, we will escort them to your car after the appointment so that they are never alone.
- In the coming days, you will see a new mounted air filter system which uses technology similar to that on the space shuttle to clean the air. This will further reduce and prevent the aerosols we discussed earlier.
This pandemic has changed our world. It certainly has changed my life and our business, as it has most businesses. But please know many things will remain the same:
- Our commitment to provide quality dental care.
- Our desire to give personal and individual attention that you have come to expect from our team.
- And of course, the fun, relaxed atmosphere of our office. As always, we will be smiling beneath our masks.
We look forward to hearing from you soon. Thank you in advance for your patience during this time. If you have any questions about the new procedures, please call the office.
Dr. Scott Nicolette and staff
Download the ADA COVID-19 Screening Form
As a reminder and way to protect others, please immediately report any signs or symptoms of COVID-19 to our office.