blankDue to the changing global landscape caused by the Coronavirus, dentistry has had to adapt as well.  Based on the ‘shelter in place’ mandate issued by California’s governor, all elective, non essential services are going to be suspended.  This is the guidance from the CDA, the ADA, the CDC and Home Health moving forward.

If your appointment is already confirmed, Dr ORielly has previously evaluated your case based on the new guidelines, and you should still come in.  If you have an appointment for a non essential dental procedure like a cleaning, we will need to reschedule your appointment until guidelines change.  If you have an essential need that can’t wait, then you should still seek care and not put it off.  What is essential care?  In my opinion, based on 35 years of experience, essential care falls into one of the following categories:

  • You are in pain and the pain is coming from your teeth, bone around your teeth, or jaw joints
  • You have a dental infection or swelling, heat or pain from a tooth, root canal or former root canal
  • You have deep decay or cavities that can cause infections or root canals
  • Your have missing teeth and this is significantly affecting your ability to eat
  • Your dental health is negatively affecting your systemic health or
  • Your doctor has referred you for care

Again, I am reviewing each patient’s chart and situation before their appointment to make sure they fall into one of the above categories.  If you have any questions about the guidelines above, feel free to reach out to us either by phone or email.  You will find our contact info at the end of this post.

So, the guidance seems pretty clear until further notice.  Cancel all elective, non essential dental procedures.  Check.  Call if I have pain, swelling, or feel that my dental health is affecting my overall health.  Check.  But what’s going to happen next?  Until new guidelines are issued by the CDC and CDA, you stay the course and call us for guidance.

What to expect on your next visit our dental office

When you come to our office, whether it’s this week or next month, you are going to notice some changes that are in place for your protection.

When you walk into the front door, you will see hand wipes by the front door.  You will be asked to take one, thoroughly wipe your hands, and dispose of it in the covered trash can.  Then you might notice that no other patients are in the office.  This is because Dr O only recommends seeing one patient at a time, so no one else will be receiving dental care when you are.

Next you will be brought back and will notice that Dr O is leaving his high speed air filtration units on pretty much all the time now.  These filters clean and filter all the air in the room in five minutes.  You may also notice new air filtration units that have UV lights that kill microbes as they pass through the electrostatic titanium plates inside.

The other vital thing you need to know is that we completely evacuate the air in the rooms after each patient.  This is only possible because we have windows and  doors that opens to the outside.  So, it’s actually possible to push all the air out with high speed fans between patients.  As everyone knows by now, the Coronavirus can remain in the air for a period of time, so it’s important to completely filter and remove the air between patients.

After you are settled in the patient chair, Dr O and Patty will excuse themselves to wash, gown up and put on their respirators and visors.  Dr O feels this is important for every procedure done from now on, not only for their protection but your protection as well.  Dr O also feels that the N95 respirator will become standard protection for all medical and dental personnel, until we get a handle on the infection rates in this country and a vaccine is developed.  These respirators are rated by National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) as having a filtration efficiency rate of 95%, and are the only masks that have been approved and rated as protective against viruses.

I will be writing more about the Coronavirus: what it is and what you need to know to protect yourself in my next post.  I will also be sharing concrete things you can do to build up your immune system.  However, my immediate advice to all my patients and readers is to remind you that fear puts your nervous system automatically into a fight or flight, sympathetic mode.  If you are operating from chronic fear and uncertainty, you are in a sympathetic mode much of the time.  This is extremely stressful and actually saps your immune system’s ability to fight infections.  So be sure to take time for yourself.  Eat well with lots of vegetables and live foods, walk and exercise, and take time for relaxation and contemplation.  You want to stay in parasympathetic mode as much as possible instead of sympathetic, fight or flight mode.

Until my next post, if you have any questions please feel free to reach out through email at [email protected] or call us at 760-632-1304 and talk with Victoria.  If I need to respond to any dental specific questions about treatment, I will do so either by email or by phone. So, be sure we have your current contact information.

Above all else stay safe and take care of yourself and loved ones.  We will get through this!  And we will get through this together!