Is it Safe to Go to the Dentist? Scottsdale Smile Center Dentists Discuss Coronavirus Safety Measures
The dental team at Scottsdale Smile Center has implemented several additional safety protocols to reduce the risk of coronavirus exposure in the office environment and help patients obtain the care they need.
Scottsdale, AZ – Of the many businesses and services that had to close their doors during the first few months of the coronavirus pandemic, dental offices were among the most notable. While many practices remained open for dental emergencies, options for routine and preventive care, cosmetic dental treatment, and restorative procedures were significantly limited or completely unavailable during the closures. During this time, dental practices such as Scottsdale Smile Center began preparing their offices for the day they could reopen to elective dental treatment while maximizing the safety of patients and employees. Scottsdale dentist Brandon Ryff, DDS along with Dr. Don Chiappetti and Dr. Jonathan Coombs, who oversee Scottsdale Smile Center, say their entire team of dental professionals rallied together to implement a comprehensive COVID-19 risk mitigation plan and reopen the practice in early May with enhanced safety measures designed to minimize the risk of exposure to the virus while helping patients receive the care they need: “Safety comes first and the extreme focus and dedication of our team during this challenging time is a testament to that mission.”
The dentists say they were fortunate to begin with a solid foundation: as a state-of-the-art dental office, high standards of infection control and sterilization had already been in place for many years. Closely following guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and the American Dental Association, the practice held well over 100 hours of didactic lecture and training sessions for its clinical and administrative team covering a multitude of topics, including the etiology, diagnosis, prevention, treatment, and control of infectious diseases. The trainings were extremely detailed and rigorous, designed to ensure the team could consistently and effectively execute on the various components of their COVID-19 risk mitigation plan on a daily basis. The dentists also devised certain engineering controls designed to keep both their patients and their team members safe. The doctors implemented a policy requiring all patients to receive a pre-procedural rinse, which they note is a safe and effective measure against viral and bacterial pathogens. The dentists also installed over a dozen HEPA-13, medical-grade air purification systems to maintain the cleanest possible air inside the office. Although this is not a new policy for Scottsdale Smile Center, high-touch surfaces are routinely disinfected throughout the day.
The team at Scottsdale Smile Center begins each day with a 30-minute meeting during which time all patients and their respective medical histories are discussed in detail. In advance, the team identifies patients with ages and/or health conditions associated with greater risk—additional special arrangements are made to help protect the vulnerable. Numerous changes to scheduling protocols have been implemented to ensure patients are not waiting, and if so, are always able to maintain more than adequate physical distance from others in the waiting area. All doctors, clinical support, and administrative staff have tested negative for the coronavirus. The staff touts their commitment as a team to remain healthy themselves by absolutely avoiding unnecessary risk in their personal lives so they may continue to care for patients. Still, the doctors note, all members of the dental team must pass a health screening—including a temperature check—before entering the facility each day.
The dentists explain that patients visiting the practice will also be given a brief questionnaire and a general health screening upon entry. Patients are also administered hand sanitizer upon arrival and are required to wear masks while not actively being treated. Those who are ill are asked to reschedule their appointment and not enter the practice. Patients are also asked to attend their appointment alone, unless it’s absolutely necessary to bring a companion, in order to minimize the number of individuals in the practice at any given time. Vendors, salespeople, non-patient visitors, and even delivery persons are not permitted to enter. The practice is continuing to offer virtual consultations that can be conducted via FaceTime for individuals who are wary of an in-person appointment.
The doctors at Scottsdale Smile Center understand that these are very challenging times for all Americans. Dr Ryff remarks: “Now more than ever, it is our responsibility as healthcare providers to stay abreast of the latest science behind infection control protocols so that we may deliver much needed care, but in the safest manner possible.”
For years, the doctors at Scottsdale Smile Center have shared in common the philosophy that oral and overall systemic health are inextricably linked. In fact, the doctors note that they have already seen the deleterious effects on patients’ health following delays for routine dental care relating to COVID-19 fears and concerns. The dentists say they recognize the legitimate fears and concerns shared by many individuals and reiterate the importance of not dismissing those concerns, but addressing them head-on by doing everything in their power to help minimize risks. The doctors acknowledge that, despite their best efforts, the risk of contracting COVID-19 can never be completely eliminated. However, they warned that delaying preventative dental cleanings and routine dental care does not come without its own cost to one’s health. “While we all hope this coronavirus nightmare ends tomorrow, it’s unlikely. Choosing to forgo dental treatment early on in the crisis was certainly not unreasonable; however, for most individuals, avoiding the dentist long-term or even indefinitely comes with its own risks and costs as well.”
About Scottsdale Smile Center
Scottsdale Smile Center is a dental practice located in the Scottsdale and Phoenix area that offers a comprehensive array of treatments designed to improve and maintain oral health, restore dental function, and enhance smile aesthetics. The dentists at Scottsdale Smile Center are experienced with virtually all facets of dental care, including cosmetic dentistry, reconstructive dentistry, and preventive dentistry. Options at the practice include routine dental care services as well as treatments such as porcelain veneers, dental implants, teeth whitening, Invisalign® orthodontic aligners, and full Smile Makeovers. The team of dentists who oversee the practice hold membership in a variety of respected dental organizations and regularly attend continuing dental education courses that enable them to provide patients with the latest dental techniques.
For more information, visit scottsdalesmile.com and facebook.com/ScottsdaleSmileCenter.
Scottsdale Smile Center
5410 N Scottsdale Rd
Paradise Valley, AZ 85253