COVID-19 FAQ

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We are looking forward to seeing you in our office soon! Please carefully review the below information and changes we've made at our office.

As most of you know the State of CA has extended the shelter in place to May 31st.  While in the State of CA, dentists have always been considered essential workers, the CDA & ADA have recommended limiting the scope of care we provide during the pandemic to urgent and emergency care.  Due to the ongoing nature of orthodontic care we have many patients with active orthodontic appliances requiring monitoring, along with emergency patients. Many of whom have received care by virtual appointment. Our local orthodontic associations the California Association of Orthodontists and the American Association of Orthodontists have issued statements that we as orthodontists should use our judgement in providing care for our patients whose treatment has suffered extensive delays, along with providing urgent and emergency care.

Overview of COVID-19: COVID-19 is thought to spread mainly from person-to-person, typically between people who are in close contact with one another (within 6 feet) and through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs/sneezes.  People are thought to be most contagious when they are symptomatic. However COVID-19 virus has a long incubation period during which carriers of the virus may not show symptoms and still be highly contagious.  

We ask that our patients and any parents arrive wearing a mask, and use the hand sanitizer upon entry.  We’ve limited our schedule for the safety of our patients and our team.  Please maintain CDC’s social distancing guidelines when in the waiting room and front desk areas.

As we have always done in the past, we will continue to follow the stringent safety and infection control protocols as dictated by the Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) and the CDC.  We have also implemented additional patient intake protocols, infection control and safety measures above what OSHA recommends in light of the COVID-19 pandemic to increase the safety of our community, patients, team & doctors. 

CHANGES IN OFFICE PROTOCOL:  For the safety of our patients & team for any emergency visits required during the pandemic we ask that you are aware of the below changes we’ve implemented.  Thank you for your compliance and understanding of our new office policies during the pandemic.

  1. Screening Form: When you receive your email appointment reminder 1-3 days prior you'll see a link to complete our online health screening form - please fill this out as soon as possible.If it is not filled out by the time of your appointment, we'll ask you to fill it out prior to being admitted into the office.
  2. Limited entry: We ask that adult patients attend appointments alone if possible, and minors attend with one responsible party only to limit the number of people in the waiting room. (Our coffee and tea stations are also temporarily closed).
  3. How to check in: Please text us at (408) 268-4422 once you are parked.Once your chair is ready we will text back to notify you to come into the office. Please present to your appointment at the regularly scheduled time or up to 5 mins early.  If you are early or late please first call us at (408)268-4422 to let us know.
  4. After checking in: Please arrive with a mask on.If a mask is not worn by a parent or guardian we will be asking that you please wait in the car for the duration of the appointment.We will be taking your temperature (using a touch-less point and shoot thermometer) upon entry. Please use the hand sanitizer at the check-in counter when you arrive, certain patients for certain aerosol producing procedures will be asked to rinse with a 1% hydrogen peroxide mouthwash at our toothbrush station (which will otherwise be closed). Please remember to brush & floss your teeth at home prior to coming for your visit.
  5. After your visit: If you are able to schedule your next visit, please stop by the front desk to do so.If you are a minor and your parent is not present to schedule, we will text you to come in through the exit and make your next appointment.

Additional measures we will be taking during this time:

We have always complied with strict OSHA-mandated protocols to maintain a highly sterile environment within our office. We've taken additional measures in cooperation with the evolving updates through the CDC, OSHA, CDC & the ADA:

  1. Employee Health Screening:  All employees and affiliated providers undergo health history screenings before commencing employment. In addition, we strictly enforce sick policies that require employees suffering from communicable illnesses to stay home from work until they have clearance. Employees who have traveled to a country with a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Level 3 Travel Health Notice are required to self-quarantine for 14 days prior to returning to work. At this time, employees are required to wear masks at all times. Employees are also having their temperatures monitored daily prior to starting their shift.
  2. Patient Health Screening: Due to concerns about patient and employee safety, we ask that all patients experiencing flu-like symptoms (fever, cough, sore throat, nausea, vomiting and difficulty breathing) to reschedule their appointments. Patients will be asked to complete a digital COVID-19 screening form a few days prior to their appointment and a temperature check prior to all visits in accordance with CDC and American Dental Association recommended guidelines.
  3. Sterilization Procedures: The foundation of our infection control procedures have always been based on requirements established by the CDC that state that all body fluids are treated as infectious because patients with bloodborne infections can be asymptomatic or unaware that they are infected. This includes body fluids in airborne droplets from coughs or sneezes. 
    Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) used in our office which includes disposable gowns, eye-protective wear with side protection, full face shields, surgical masks and N95 or KN95 respirators and latex-free gloves are designed to ensure that no fluids can be passed between staff and patients. Strict surface sterilization procedures are followed to clean and disinfect all operatory surfaces between patients and, after each use, all dental instruments are disinfected and heat sterilized in medical steam autoclave machines in individual sterile pouches.
  4. Common Area Disinfecting: As a result of the current coronavirus concern, we have taken added precautions in the common areas.  All office areas are disinfected frequently. This includes a thorough wipe down of all hard surfaces, such as door handles, door knobs, tables, chairs and front office counters with a disinfectant wipe. In addition, patients are being advised to practice social distancing in our lobby area or wait in their cars if preferred.
    According to the CDC, the most important steps we all can take to avoid infection from airborne diseases are frequent hand washing with soap and water and regular cleansing of highly-used surfaces with disinfectant. We recommend that all our patients take these basic precautions.
  5. Multiple hand sanitizers have been placed throughout the office.
  6. Multiple HEPA filtration & air purification units has been placed in both our reception & clinic areas. Our units effectively filter 99.97% of harmful airborne particles. Our units have UV-C light technology which works to help reduce airborne viruses and bacteria.

We appreciate your cooperation during this time. We hope to be able to resume our normal scheduling after May 30th and will be in close communication with you as things evolve.  We've added extra work days to accommodate our patients schedules in June and will give you our promise to do everything in our control to maintain a positive, safe environment for everyone during this uncertain time.

Be well & We hope to see you all soon!

The Steinhoff Orthodontics Team