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Scottsdale Smile Center Reopening – COVID19 Risk Mitigation Plan

We are pleased to announce that Scottsdale Smile Center will resume patient care, effective Monday May 4th 2020, pursuant to Governor Ducey’s Executive Order 2020-32. For over 60 years, striving for clinically excellent dentistry while providing top-notch service has been crucial to our success, however maintaining the highest standards for sterilization, cleanliness and safety remains our top priority.

The doctors and their incredible team of dedicated, career-long employees genuinely care about the health, safety, and well-being of every single one of our patients. The employees you have come to know at Scottsdale Smile Center are good hard-working people and we would like you to know that due to your longtime support of our practice, we were fortunate in our ability to keep the entire team employed full-time throughout the six-week closure. During this difficult time, the team reciprocated, showing incredible strength and courage by continuing to come to work in order to serve our emergency patients who would have otherwise gone to the ER, thus adding strain to hospital capacities.

Throughout the duration of the unfortunate COVID-19 pandemic, our team turned a negative situation into a positive opportunity for professional growth and learning, taking an already polished team to the next level. For the last six weeks, while not treating emergencies, the entire team was collectively and enthusiastically engaged in finding new ways to keep you safe. We held dozens of intensive, daily training sessions (while social distancing) on a wide range of topics, but especially evidence-based best practices for infection control. Safety comes first and the extreme focus and dedication of our team during this challenging time is a testament to that mission.

We are of course, in full compliance with all guidelines issued from the Governor’s office, Arizona Department of Health Services, Arizona Board of Dental Examiners, Center for Disease Control, Occupational Safety and Health Administration and the American Dental Association relating to COVID-19, but we have gone well beyond those minimum requirements.

Here is a brief summary of just some of the actions we have taken to help keep everyone safe:

  1. All doctors and employees have submitted to PCR testing for Coronavirus and were confirmed negative. After several months now of treating patients, not a single member of our clinical team has been infected.
  2. At the start of each day, all employees are temperature tested and screened prior to entering the facility. Daily logs will be maintained, indefinitely. Upon entering the facility, all employees will use a mouth rinse called Closys, which has antiviral activity for up to 6 hours, followed by thoroughly washing their hands before finally entering the main part of the practice.
  3. We have installed medical-grade hepa-13 air filtration systems in all treatment rooms, sterilization areas, the waiting room as well as doctor and administrative offices and more. These robust systems filter down to 0.1 microns and process 6,500 sqft every 30 minutes.
  4. All door handles and waiting room surfaces are regularly disinfected throughout the day and the entire practice is deep cleaned by a professional cleaning crew every night.
  5. Magazines will no longer be available because they are impossible to disinfect.
  6. Every treatment room including chairs, counters and all other surfaces are disinfected with Opticide before and after every patient.
  7. Sterilization procedures have always been top-notch and will continue to far exceed industry standards.
  8. We will do our absolute best to minimize patients in the waiting room and have a system in place to help maintain physical distancing. We ask that you please be flexible with appointment times as we work to maintain safe levels of occupancy throughout the day.
  9. We have implemented a system to proactively identify patients who are elderly and/or have certain chronic health conditions. We will be working behind the scenes to make special accommodations for every vulnerable patient.

What you should know before your appointment:

  1. Obviously, if you do not feel well, please cancel your appointment. We are waiving all last-minute appointment cancellation fees to discourage patients from trying to keep an appointment despite being sick.
  2. Upon arrival, please feel free to stand in front of the main doors and we are happy to open the door for you electronically, so you do not have to touch the door handle.
  3. Upon entry, we will dispense hand sanitizer for you and ask standard screening questions. This is mandatory, for your safety and those around you.
  4. Prior to receiving any treatment (even hygiene), we must check your temperature, blood pressure and in some cases, oxygen saturation levels. These are mandatory checks, designed to help keep you and others safe.
  5. Prior to commencing any treatment, all patients will be asked to rinse with Closys, which has antiviral activity. Since this is a such a simple, non-invasive step to help mitigate risk, this is also mandatory.
  6. We ask that you do not bring visitors with you to your appointment unless necessary, except for essential companions (i.e. caregivers, medical POA’s, parent/guardian to a minor, etc). They will also be screened upon entry into the facility and required to wear a mask if entering treatment areas.
  7. Please do not wear gloves to your appointment. We strongly discourage this practice because the gloves quickly become contaminated and then serve to spread germs, putting other at risk. The best approach is frequent, thorough hand-washing and not touching your face.
  8. If you feel you might have been exposed and wish to be tested for COVID-19 antibodies prior to your appointment, please call us a week in advance. The doctors will provide you with an order to get tested at Sonora Quest Labs. The cost is very reasonable at $65, payable to the lab directly.
  9. All procedures are now permitted, with the exception being any non-essential, elective surgery (veneers done for purely cosmetic reasons) requires the patient submit to COVID-19 testing in advance.

Despite many setbacks, this tragedy has brought us to appreciate things we perhaps once took for granted, such as our health, our relationships, but especially our safety. Fact is, lots of people are fearful. Fear is nature’s way of motivating us to avoid things that may cause us harm. However, fear is a primal emotion that must eventually balance with logic, facts and reality. While we would love to see a vaccine or miracle cure–reality is, this is unlikely to happen anytime soon. There are obviously many opinions out there and we do respect each of them, but as healthcare providers we must focus on the facts and the data. The fact is, there always has and always will be risk of contracting infectious diseases (TB, Coronavirus etc) and nothing can ever completely eliminate that risk. It is also a fact that maintaining good oral health is absolutely critical to your overall systemic health. Our team is forever committed to providing you the best possible dental care available AND doing everything in our power to mitigate risk and keep everyone safe. We are very fortunate to serve such a wonderful group of patients and for your many years of loyal support, we sincerely thank you for entrusting us with your care.

If you have any questions, comments, or concerns please feel free to call the office or email Dr Ryff directly: dr.ryff@scottsdalesmile.com

Sincerely,

Dr Ryff
Dr Chiappetti
Dr Coombs