Before a Patient Arrives:
We are screening patients via phone or teledentistry for COVID-19 symptoms and possible exposure to COVID-19 prior to the dental appointment. All patients with a medium risk of infection will be screened with an in-office antibody test by Biosys Plus, which is read in 10 minutes. The results of this test are for screening purposes only- any patient with IgM antibodies will not be seen in the office that day and will be referred for a diagnostic COVID-19
test. Any patient with a high risk of exposure or COVID-19 symptoms in the past 2 weeks will be required to submit for testing prior to scheduling their appointment. For testing locations, please see: https://www.michigan.gov/coronavirus/0,9753,7-406-98189---,00.html.
Patients will be screened a second time when they arrive to the office for their appointment.
Patients are instructed to call ahead if they develop COVID-19 symptoms
(per CDC https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/symptomstesting/symptoms.html ) including:
• Fever or chills
• Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
• Muscle or body aches
• New loss of taste or smell
• Sore throat
• Congestion or runny nose
• Nausea or vomiting
To Promote Social Distancing:
Appointment times will be scheduled to minimize contact with other patients. During your appointment, your provider will stay in the room to minimize risk of transmission of the COVID-19 virus. Periodic exams by Dr. Knight will not be completed in-person during the cleaning appointment. Instead, our hygiene team will be utilizing various technologies including intraoral photos/video, transillumination for caries detection by CariVu, and oral cancer
screening imaging by Veloscope. This data will be reviewed by Dr. Knight, and any treatment needs will be discussed virtually after the appointment.
Appointments for restorative work by Dr. Knight will be scheduled to maximize treatment done during one visit- we would prefer to finish all dental work in as few appointments as possible to restrict chances for possible COVID-19 exposure and to conserve scarce PPE. Patients will be asked to come to their appointments alone or have their escort wait in the car to limit number of patients in the office. Children or others needing a caregiver present will be allowed to have one caregiver accompany them to their appointment. Patients at high risk for severe COVID-19 illness will be scheduled at the beginning of the day (Risk factors include: asthma, chronic kidney disease being treated by dialysis, chronic lung disease, diabetes, hemoglobin disorders, liver disease, a serious heart condition, severe obesity, being immunocompromised, age 65+, and living in nursing homes or long-term care
Safety Measures Taken Upon Arrival
Patients will be asked to text the office at 269-469-3140 upon arrival and wait outside the office. A team member will then call the patient to review COVID-19 risk factors/possible symptoms review health history, and answer any questions about the appointment. The patient will then be escorted into the practice by the team member. We kindly ask that patients bring only the necessities with them into the dental office (keys, phone, form of payment) to reduce risk of contamination of personal property. Harbor Country Dental will no longer be accepting cash payments. Debit/credit cards are preferred as transactions can be made “touchless”. All persons entering the office will be required to wear a face mask. Patients will have their temperature taken with a touchless thermometer and will be asked to use hand sanitizer for 20 seconds upon entry into the building.
Minimizing Aerosol Contamination
We have learned that coronavirus particles are small- 0.06- 0.14 microns and can be airborne. Infection may occur through these airborne particles. Therefore our office is taking measures to reduce risk of disease transmission by aerosol contamination. All operatories have been modified so work can be performed in an enclosed space. Providers will be waiting 15 minutes after patient dismissal to allow for any airborne particles to
settle prior to disinfecting surfaces. Each operatory will be equipped with a Novaerus air filtration unit, which uses low-energy plasma technology to kill pathogens in the air https://www.novaerus.com/ . (Currently, this product is on back-order and expected to arrive in our office mid-June. Until then, we are using an in-room HyperHEPA filter from IQ Air, which will filter 99.5% of particles down to 0.003 microns in size
Once in the operatory, patients will be given a molecular iodine rinse and will be asked to brush with a toothpaste containing hydrogen peroxide. Both of these measures are intended to reduce the COVID-19 virus intraorally- where viral load can be very high even in asymptomatic patients. https://www.iotechinternational.com/post/potential-benefit-of-iotech-s-high-molecular-iodine-products-in-helping-to-combat-coronavirus
A rubber dam will be used for all procedures requiring the use of the dental handpiece.
The hygiene team will be using a high-volume suction device to minimize aerosols while they work.
Personal Protective Equipment
Our team will be outfitted with gloves, coats, KN95 respirators, and face shields during treatment and cleaning of each operatory. We will not be removing our masks for the duration of the in-person visit.