3 min readCOVID-19 Response – 16 Practical Steps Your Dental Practice can Take Now

Dru Halverson

  • Utilize cell phone triage – Have the patient use the cell phone to take a picture of the area and text to the dentist/dental team member. If it is an existing patient – you can determine the need for next steps. If it is a new patient – you will be limited on what you can do for next steps.
  • Have a detailed questionnaire/conversation before scheduling appointments and prior to any procedure about flu-like symptoms, travel abroad for self and family/friends/co-workers, etc. to permit a thorough evaluation of the patient. Here are some sample questions below:
  1. Have you recently traveled to an area with known local spread of COVID-19?
    1. Yes / No
  2. Have you had close contact (within 6 feet) with someone who has a laboratory confirmed COVID – 19 diagnosis in the past 14 days?
    1. Yes / No
  3. Do you have a fever (greater than 100.4 F or 38.0 C) OR symptoms of lower respiratory illness such as cough, shortness of breath, or difficulty breathing?
    1. Yes / No
  4. Do you have a fever (greater than 100.4 F or 38.0 C) OR symptoms of lower respiratory illness such as cough, shortness of breath, or difficulty breathing?
    1. Yes / No
  5. Do you have a fever (greater than 100.4 F or 38.0 C) OR symptoms of lower respiratory illness such as cough, shortness of breath, or difficulty breathing?
    1. Yes / No
  6. Do you have an immunocompromised condition due to a systemic disease, treatment of cancer or other illness/condition, advanced age (65 or older), etc?
    1. Yes / No
  • Consider taking the temperature of the patient as they arrive to the office.
  • Reconsider scheduling high-risk patients unless they need emergency treatment.
  • Evaluate carefully the need for scheduling of ASA 2 & 3 patients
  • Use of 1% hydrogen peroxide rinse prior to beginning of an appointment of any type  by the patient to reduce microbial load in the oral cavity.
  • Use of rubber dam isolation or Isodry/Isolite and high-volume suction to limit aerosol in treatment procedures.
  • Proper disinfection protocol between patients with a possible repeat of the protocol for a 2nd time.
  • Generate signs for all exit/entry doors. If you are making a delivery – have them call and leave at the door. Give explanation on limitation of people in the office and direction on what they should do. (To prevent over-crowding of waiting areas for the possible spread of infection)
  • Consider having patients wait in their cars instead of the waiting areas to prevent inadvertent spread of the virus (call patient when treatment room is ready for them).
  • Consider staggering appointment times to reduce reception room exposure.
  • Consider rescheduling elective procedures on ASA 2 & 3 patients
  • Have business team take measures to prevent exposure.
  • Set a timer for every 2 hours – wipe down all door knobs and other surfaces that get high use.
  • Have sterilization team, lab technicians and auxiliary team take adequate measures to prevent exposure.
  • Limit access to reception room use to only patients. Accompanying individuals must wait in their respective transportation.
  • Remove all unnecessary items in the reception area all magazines/toys/brochures/clip boards/cups of pens/etc. from reception area to prevent contamination.
  • Consider setting up a table outside the entry door with hand sanitizer and Kleenex with a sign asking them to use the hand sanitizer to wash hands for at least 20 seconds and then use the Kleenex to open the doors. 
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