Dental care is considered essential health care by both the ADA and the CDC (1,2), and we definitely agree! Amazingly, infection control practices that have been in effect for years are helping to make visits to the dentist during this COVID-19 era quite safe (3). In fact, one study found that less than 1% of dentists have tested positive for COVID-19, which is much lower than all other healthcare professions (3). Extra measures (as recommended by the CDC and ADA) that dental offices are making on top of existing cleaning practices are effective, and we take these measures seriously.
For the past several months, we have been including these extra safety measures (which will be outlined below) into our routines in order to make sure that we keep our patients and our staff as safe as possible. We always strive to be a safe, positive, and comfortable place for your children to receive care! Our entire staff at Jungle Roots will always go above and beyond to create the safest environment for every person who walks through our doors.
1. Safety Measures That Our Employees Take
Keeping our office safe begins with healthy employees. As a first measure, we ask each of our employees to stay home if they are experiencing any COVID-19 or flu-like symptoms. When in the office, we all wear personal protective equipment, including face masks, face shields, gloves, and gowns. As an extra precaution, our employees change into new personal protective equipment after each patient, to minimize the chance of any potential transmission of any illnesses. Beyond these additional measures, we are still continuing our regular practices of regularly washing hands well and keeping up a high standard of disinfection and sterilization.
2. Limiting the Number of People in the Office
Much like other public businesses, we ask all patients and employees to practice social distancing as much as possible. We also have reduced the number of patients we see in the office at a time in order to keep our capacity down, minimize contact that patients make with each other, and make social distancing easier for everyone. Working with our patients’ schedules closely, we strive to schedule appointments further apart to also help keep capacity down. We also ask that only patients and one guardian attend appointments, and if possible, for households with multiple patients to all receive care on the same day. Not only does this minimize the number of households within the office each day, but it can help bring some extra familiarity and comfort to our patients!
3. Precautions for Patients
When you arrive for your appointment, call our office (480-759-1119) to let us know that you are here. We will be by shortly to take your and your child’s temperature. So, in the meantime, please stay in your vehicle and turn your AC up to high to prevent an artificially high temperature. We will also have you fill out any needed medical forms during this time, including a COVID-19 form, which screens patients for signs and symptoms of infections. On your way into the office, we ask that you wear a mask. If you don’t have one, we will happily provide you with one while you are still in your car. And once you enter the office, please use hand sanitizer, rubbing it all over your hands for 5-10 seconds until they are dry.
When calling to schedule an appointment, please let us know if anyone in your home is immunocompromised. We will try our best to fit your appointment into an early morning slot in order to minimize your potential exposure to other households. Lastly, please call the office and let us know if anyone in your household has been sick in the 14 days before the appointment, and we will determine if we will need to reschedule.
4. Safety During Procedures
We have made a few changes to our procedures to help protect our patients and staff. The first is that we have each patient rinse with a hydrogen peroxide solution at the beginning of their appointment, which works as an antimicrobial. (Our youngest patients are excluded from this requirement.) We are also aware of the number of aerosols in use, which can increase the transmission of viruses and bacteria. Our staff uses suction and hand scaling (the technique used to remove plaque), instead of ultrasonic scaling, in order to reduce as much aerosol spread as possible.
Lastly, we know that sometimes coughs and sneezes are a part of life and not a sign of illness. Just to be safe, we ask that all staff and patients cover their nose and mouth with a tissue when coughing or sneezing, dispose of the tissue properly, and then wash their hands well with antimicrobial soap.
5. Keeping Everything Clean and Germ Free
We go over and above recommendations to keep Jungle Roots germ-free. We are using HEPA air filtration at each chair, MERV-14 filters in the AC registers, and running UVC lights in the office for 5 hours every night to disinfect our environmental air. UVC light box technology is also used to sterilize our personal items like glasses, masks, phones, keys, etc. for the safety of our patients and our employees.
Another important measure we have employed to protect you is bolstering our already strict cleaning practices. We have increased our janitorial services to now clean the office every day.
Walls, floors, and high-touch areas, such as door handles, counters, and faucets, are all disinfected routinely. Additionally, we no longer have magazines, toys, video games, or coffee available. This minimizes shared surfaces and ensures that everyone wears their masks as much as possible. And, because we have everyone wait in their cars instead of the lobby, we have cut down on the need for toys or games, so your child might not even notice that they’re no longer available. We have also doubled our efforts to be welcoming, engaging, and fun, so your child should have quite an enjoyable and entertaining experience with us, even with all the changes!
Dental equipment is also given special attention. Chairs, x-ray equipment and spaces, and other furniture are disinfected between patients. All tools used during appointments go through the same cleaning processes we have employed for years. First, we remove any and all substances from the tools. After that, all reusable tools go through a disinfection and/or sanitization process, where all microbes are disabled, destroyed, and removed, and therefore unable to transmit infectious agents. Certain items that are disposable, such as the tube that goes into the mouth to suck saliva, are changed between patients. We take great care between patients to ensure that our tools, equipment, and space are clean and ready for use, so that way we can focus fully on patients and their experience while they are with us.
We have carefully reviewed our processes and guidelines from the CDC, ADA, AzDA, and Bodex, and we feel confident in our ability to care for you and your family well. If you have any further questions about how we are keeping our office safe, the ways we are implementing guidelines, or about your child’s care, please call us! We would love to discuss how we can continue caring for your children and family well and keep your dental and orthodontic care as regular and uninterrupted as possible during this season. We are so thankful for our patients and so privileged to be able to provide care for you and your family!
At Jungle Roots Children’s Dentistry & Orthodontics, we strive to provide the highest comprehensive pediatric and orthodontic dental care in a unique, fun-filled environment staffed by a team of caring, energetic professionals. We believe the establishment of a “dental home” at an early age is the key to a lifetime of positive visits to the dentist.
Call Us - (480) 759-1119
Dentistry is essential health care. ADA. https://www.ada.org/en/publications/ada-news/2020-archive/october/ada-dentistry-is-essential-health-care.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Guidance for Dental Settings. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/hcp/dental-settings.html.
Report Finds COVID-19 Rate Among Dentists is Less than One Percent. Report finds COVID-19 Rate Among Dentists is Less than One Percent.https://www.ada.org/en/press-room/news-releases/2020-archives/october/report-finds-covid-19-rate-among-dentists-is-less-than-one percent#:~:text=Report%20Finds%20COVID%2D19%20Rate%20Among%20Dentists%20is%20Less%20than%20One%20Percent,-October%2015%2C%202020&text=CHICAGO%2C%20Oct.,data%20collected%20in%20June%202020.