UPDATE--July 9, 2020
It is great to be back! We've completed our first month of patient care in the new world of dentistry. It's been a terrific success with the support of our caring and loyal patients. We can't thank you enough for your perseverance! Please check out our welcome back video here:
I wish to express my team's sincere congratulations to those of you who have successfully completed your high school and college experiences. Graduation looks different in this COVID era, but our heartfelt wishes for your success in the future remain resolute.
My fervent hope is that you and your families have weathered this unprecedented series of storms safely and in good health. I hope to get to see you soon.
This update will be long (I apologize in advance!) as it addresses 3 things:
- Methods to contact our office for general appointments and care
- Phases of reopening
- What we’ve done to secure patient and team safety
1. Methods to contact our office:
For general concerns or questions during office hours, please call 603-882-3001 and leave a message describing your concern.
For emergency needs after hours, call 603-882-3001 and leave a message describing your concern so that my staff may address your concerns on the following business day and then follow the prompts to contact me directly. We will arrange care for every emergency need, and have the ability to initiate a tele-dental triage consultation, if needed, to manage your needs appropriately and accordingly.
2. Phases of reopening
Please know: we are here for you and are in the office for regular patient care since June 1, 2020. We are doing a "soft opening to permit our patients and staff to acclimate to the changes induced by the viral crisis that has forced us to shut down our lives.
- Phase 1: May 18 - 21
- Our team was welcomed back for a week of training on new equipment, new personal protective equipment and new office software.
- Phase 2: May 26 - 29
- During week 2, weaccomplished further training and began to see our patients who were in need of actual urgent treatment that had been palliated or temporized during the COVID-19 closure.
- Phase 3: June 1
- We began to schedule routine care and dental hygiene visits. This month allowed us to evaluate times needed to incorporate the crazy amount of changes incurred by new technologies and new personal protective equipment use by the staff.
- Phase 4: June 15
- We began "new normal" scheduling" and welcomed back our patients for continuing care--two full weeks ahead of schedule! We have extended appointment times to 90 minutes; we have incorporated block schedules to limit the number of patients "crossing paths;" and enhanced the post-treatment sterilization and disinfection procedures.
3. What we’ve done to secure patient and team safety
It is and always has been my opinion that the profession of dentistry has been successfully managing infection control since the late 1980s, when HIV and Hepatitis-B invaded our world, by maintaining constant vigilance to the contagiousness of the aerosols created during dental treatment. Despite the close nature of our work, there has not been a single case of practitioner-to-patient or patient-to-practitioner transmission of aids or hepatitis in the united states during my career of almost 35 years! I expect COVID-19 to be no different. We who are most at risk of contamination by the virus know that it is safe to visit your dentist--and we want EVERYONE to stay healthy!
Since our office closed on March 17, I spent approximately 60 hours of study and research in order to update my infectious disease knowledge base with webinars and training from the CDC, the WHO, the ADA, the New Hampshire Dental Society and numerous consulting firms around the country. In addition, I have spent uncounted hours gathering data on aerosol mitigation and procuring personal protection equipment to maintain the health and safety of my team members so they are able to provide you with the best and safest dental care possible.
In mid-April, we began the process of upgrading our technical services and began the renovation of our physical office to mitigate the potential for aerosol contamination, thereby limiting the airborne spread of potentially infectious germs.
- Ordered Vanguard chairside HEPA aerosol suction units that will collect up to 95% of the spray created during dental treatments.
- Installed Molekule HEPA/PECO air scrubber purifiers in each of the treatment rooms.
- Installed Purebreeze and Molekule HEPA air purifiers in hallways and "public" spaces.
- Upgraded the office HVAC system to MERV-11 filtration.
- Ordered hand-held Purevac high volume evacuation systems in each of the hygiene treatment rooms to further reduce risk at the point of aerosol generation.
- Installed tempered glass partitions in the administration areas of the office.
- Installed doors on all treatment rooms.
Until we meet again in person, as we ease back into the regular swing of life post-quarantine, please be safe. Wash your hands, wear a mask when you are indoors in public places (not when out in the fresh air!), practice social distancing and support your local small businesses. Look for more information and communication in your email in the coming weeks.
Scott F Bobbitt DMD MAGD DICOI