1) What is the patient and staff screening process during COVID-19?
- Preliminary screening is done over the phone before anyone comes into the office.
- Rigorous screening at the front desk to ensure Patient or Team member are symptom-free at the time of the visit.
- COVID-19 Waiver signed by each team member (limited staff on site) to confirm symptom-free and no high risk contact or travel.
- COVID-19 Waiver to be signed by each patient prior to Dental Emergency treatment
- Patients having any kind of travel history within 14-21 days after landing in British Columbia will not be allowed to proceed past the Practice entry point; such a patient will be politely asked to leave and telephoned or emailed to reschedule the appointment.
- Team members having traveled outside of British Columbia will not be allowed to work at the practice until after 14-21 days of self-isolation.
- Patients who have been recommended to self-isolate or quarantine due to possible exposure risk will not be seen until clearance is given by provincial health authorities.
2) What are the disinfecting and sanitation protocols?
British Columbia has one of the highest levels of Dental Office Infection Control Guidelines in Canada. We have always been diligent in protecting our team and our clients from a variety of infectious diseases such as flu, hepatitis, HIV, HPV and tuberculosis etc. Here is what we have always done at Pier Dental Centre:
- All instruments and materials used are either single use and discarded or sterilized after every use/every patient.
- We protect, barrier and disinfect all surface areas for every operatory in between patients. Covers and barriers are changed and discarded after each patient.
- Surfaces disinfected with hospital grade, bactericidal and virucidal disinfectant (effective for COVID-19).
- Sterilization is done by hospital level steam and pressure autoclaves and are tested for effectiveness daily by means of biological indicators.
- Sterilization indicators on the outside and inside of each package or kit to confirm the processing criteria have been met to be considered sterile.
- Sterilized instruments are stored in compliance with BC IPC recommendations to ensure continued sterility and are opened only in a disinfected, newly barriered operatory by a trained, gloved and masked dental professional.
- Waterlines and suction lines are cleaned, flushed and maintained between each patient. Canulas and suction tips are changed for each patient.
- Dental Team PPE is single use only and discarded after each patient.
3) Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, are you doing any additional Infection Prevention Protocols?
- Due to physical distancing recommendations, we are limiting the team members in the office to the smallest number possible to still offer a high level of emergency care.
- Only two patients at a time is allowed into the practice and doors will remain locked in between. We ask our clients to avoid the reception room crossover with other patients by waiting in their cars as their appointment time approaches and call them directly once the office is clear to come up.
- We have patients disinfect their hands upon entry to the office and rinse with 1% Hydrogen Peroxide mouthwash prior to treatment. (H2O2 has been shown to kill COVID in the oral cavity)
- We are disinfecting surfaces like door handles and thefront desk area before and after each patient.
- In the interest of keeping our team healthy and safe, we have upgraded our Personal Protective Equipment to include N95 masks, face visor and gown, &/or labcoats changed after each patient and removed before leaving the office at the end of their shift.
4) What kind of dental services can I get during the pandemic?
If you are experiencing any of the following, you qualify for emergency dental treatment:
- SEVERE pain
- Please seek care in our office versus a hospital setting when possible
4) Are you keeping up to date with the latest information and research?
New information is coming in always from the professional associations, almost daily. We make sure to keep up to date on all the latest information and guidelines from our Dental Associations and the BC Ministries of Health. It is very important that we act on information and guidelines that are evidence based and appropriate for a dental setting. Yes, COVID-19 is new, but the idea of dealing with viruses in dentistry is not new, which is why we are experienced in mitigating the danger of exposure to our patients and staff. Dental care is restricted to allow for social and physical distancing, but once we are able to reopen, we are prepared and highly trained for the infection control procedures that will be required. There will be new protocols due to the nature of this virus,and we are confident we can provide excellent care to our clients in this new world of COVID.
5) When will I be able to get my teeth cleaned?
As dental hygiene appointments are considered non-essential, we are postponing all hygiene appointments until the government allows our office to open for non-emergency procedures. Since the situation changes every day, we are keeping track of the latest information. Keep an eye on our social media channels and website – we’ll post updates as soon as we get any new information. Based on the current information, we are expecting to be closed for non-emergency procedures until at least May 14. We’ll update this date as the situation progresses. Our tentative start date is subject to change but that we feel we will be operational sometime late May, early June.