At the office of John E. Hutton, DDS, MS, MPH your health and the health of our staff are of the utmost importance. To ensure this we do follow all the usual universal precautions in our treatment rooms and office. Please notify our staff before your appointment if you have been exposed to someone who was diagnosed with COVID-19 or who was quarantined as a precaution.
The truly good news is that we resumed all dental care on May 1st. Since the beginning of the pandemic a lot has transpired in our office and in dental offices in general all over California.. Beginning in April 2020 the American Dental Association (ADA), the California Department of Public health, the CDC, CMS, CDA and others have recommended that all dental professionals postpone indefinitely all routine, elective non-emergency care procedures due to the COVID-19 pandemic. In order to comply, our dental office postponed routine care. Our pause in routine dental appointments was done to support “shelter at home” policies and help “flatten the curve.” However, we continued to focus on any emergency needs you might have experienced which might otherwise have resulted in a visit to the ER. If you wish to remain sheltered at home then the following is recommended: Contact us if you think you have a dental emergency to ensure that you receive care that shouldn’t be postponed. Until you return to the office brush for two minutes twice a day with a fluoride toothpaste and floss regularly. Avoid sugary foods and drinks to reduce the risk of caries (decay). When conditions change and you are comfortable to be out and about, we will again be available to help you maintain your oral health through regular preventive and treatment services.
If you are desiring continuing care or emergency care at our dental office you will be screened to ensure you are not symptomatic of viral infections and have not been in close contact with anyone showing symptoms of a previous diagnosis of COVID-19.
For your protection and for that of all other patients and staff we will be requesting the following steps:
1) If you are healthy, there’s no need to cancel your regularly scheduled dental appointment. However, if you have an illness or are exhibiting symptoms, we recommend you cancel and reschedule your dental appointment. Some illnesses and symptoms of concern include, a cold or the flu, fever or nausea, severe headaches or body aches, muscle or stomach pain, chest pain or difficulty breathing, vomiting or diarrhea, active tuberculosis (TB), mumps, measles, chickenpox or any other contagious disease.
2) Before any scheduled appointment you will be asked over the telephone if you have tested positive for COVID-19, are currently experiencing or have experienced in the last three weeks signs of acute respiratory illness such as coughing, fever or shortness of breath, are currently under mandatory isolation or have had close contact with an individual diagnosed with COVID-19. If you pass these screening questions an appointment will be arranged. If anyone is planning to accompany you into the office then they will be asked to wait for you outside. We will phone them when you have completed your appointment and are ready to leave. If a parent, guardian or caretaker must accompany you into the office or treatment room then he or she must agree to comply with mask waring, screening and social distancing rules.
3) You should arrive on time for your appointment, rather than too early or too late in order to minimize the amount of time you spend in the reception area. You will notice the removal of magazines, reading materials, and other objects that may be touched by others and which are not easily disinfected. To ensure your protection, in addition to the usual universal precautions we sanitize the hard surfaces of the waiting room and common spaces with disinfectant after every patent visit.
4) You must be wearing a mask prior to entry into the dental office and not remove it until you enter the treatment room. After your visit is completed please reposition it and keep it on until you leave the office. This is meant to help protect you and all others in the office. You may wear gloves if you so desire but be aware that we clean and disinfect public areas frequently, including door knobs/handles, chairs and bathrooms.
5) Your appointment has been scheduled to minimize possible contact with other patients during their comings and goings. Please do not congregate with other patients, family members or friends on the porch or sidewalk.
6) Your oral temperature reading will be registered to verify the absence of a fever (any temperature above 100°F or 37.7°C) as part of the routine assessment prior to performing any dental procedures. Someone will reconfirm by observation and verbally with you that you are not experiencing signs of upper respiratory illness such as a fever, cough and shortness of breath. Any and all necessary chart documentation such as health history and informed consent will be reviewed and updated as needed. We ask that you notify our office if within two weeks of treatment you test positive for COVID-19. Reciprocally, you will be informed if a staff person with whom you have had contact has tested positive for COVID-19.
7) We will use high speed evacuation for all dental procedures producing even a slight aerosol. You will be asked to use an antimicrobial rinse before starting a dental procedure. The ADA suggests using 1% hydrogen peroxide because coronavirus is vulnerable to oxidation which will reduce the salivary load of oral microbes. We will make efforts to cover your body and clothing to the extent possible with the best PPE available.
8) To ensure your health and safety we rigidly follow universal precautions in our operatories and office. We sterilize all dental instruments before and after you come into contact with them. Single-use PPE are disposed of immediately and re-usable PPE are sterilized in a manner that prevents cross-contamination. Feel confident that before and after completing your dental visit all treatment room surfaces are thoroughly cleaned and disinfected after adequate time has passed to allow aerosols to settle. We have provided adequate time between your appointment and others in order to aggressively disinfect all areas including the surfaces of common spaces.
9) All employees of this office who report symptoms of acute respiratory illness will stay home and not return to work until they are free of symptoms for at least 24 hours without the use of fever relieving or symptom altering medications. Also if an employee appears to be sick upon arrival to work, she/he will be separated from other employees and sent home immediately. All employees wash hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds and apply a hand sanitizer . All employee temperatures are recorded daily.
If you have been screened and do not report COVID-19 symptoms or a history of exposure to COVID-19 our office remains available to you as a patient of record for all dental care. If you are healthy you should not self-refer to a hospital ER for dental care. If you have any questions or concerns, please contact us immediately.
*** Please note: Under existing guidelines if you require emergency care that will produce an aerosol and have tested positive for COVID-19 your care cannot be provided in a typical dental office. Care must be provided in an airborne infection isolation room with the highest level of respiratory protection worn by all within the treatment area. If you fall into this category we will work with you and your medical provider to locate an appropriate facility for your care.
The below links provide additional information regarding the coronavirus:
Our team will continue to monitor the situation and provide updated information when warranted. Thank you for your patronage.
If you have questions about COVID-19 Safety in our dental office or would like to schedule a consultation, please contact our office.