I would like to happily announce that our office, and the rest of the dental community in New York, has been cleared to re-open by Gov. Cuomo. It is our hope that during this pandemic, you, your family, and your friends have remained healthy or have fully recovered from this virus. I would like to thank all of you for doing such a wonderful job taking care of your braces and Invisalign during the shutdown. The patients and parents asking for more elastics when they ran out, or new retainers after they went lost, really showed us how much you value your smiles and the treatment that you receive from our office. It is humbling and flattering to treat such a beautiful community of patients and your confidence in us is extremely moving.
When you return to the office for your next visit, you will notice many new protocols in place as a result of COVID-19. It is our endeavor to be transparent at all times. Therefore, I would like to inform you of what risks COVID-19 poses to dentistry (and more specifically, orthodontics), and in what ways we will address them.
The CDC has advised that all dentists, whenever possible, mitigate the production of aerosols during dental procedures, Luckily for orthodontics, aerosols are not generated during standard adjustments, which account for ~90% of your treatment visits. The types of visits that include aerosol generating procedures are those in which braces or Invisalign is placed, repaired, or removed.
The office has invested in the following technologies and equipment in order to mitigate aerosol production:
-New dental drills in which the head is air-tight. The turbine spins the bur without leaking compressed air into the mouth. The air is redirected out through the back of the handpiece. Along with aerosol mitigation, this new handpiece reduces patient sensitivity while removing brackets.
-High volume dental suction with large surface areas to capture aerosols. Also provides hands-free operation for the clinician.
-HEPA filters capable of capturing 99.5% of particles up to 0.003 microns in size (for reference, the size of SARS-CoV-2 is ~0.12 microns in size).
-Composite removing pliers to assist cleanup while repairing and removing brackets with little to no aerosolization.
As before, we will continue to follow universal precautions of infection control. This includes full sterilization of the operatories and instruments between patients as well as the use of disposable barrier tape, headrests, and tray covers for all touched surfaces. We will be disinfecting high touch areas such as door knobs, touch screens, faucet handles, etc. and One Love team members will be donning appropriate PPE, including N95 grade face masks. In addition, we have added plexiglass throughout the office to protect the instruments, operatories, and the front desk area.
Lastly, I would like you all to know that although these measures may seem exhaustive, they are in fact a step in the direction of progress for all society in regards to the delivery of dental care. When I was a dental student and learning how to administer local anesthesia, we were shown videos of dentists from the 1970’s practicing without gloves–something that seemed ridiculous to me at that time. Some of these new practices that we are putting into place will be part of an evolution in dentistry. A progression we may wonder one day how we ever did without.
All the best,