We hope you and your family are doing well and in good health. Our community has been through a lot over the last few months, and all of us are looking forward to resuming our normal habits and routines. While many things have changed, one thing has remained the same: our commitment to your safety and well being.
We have been cleared by the Kern County Health Department to re-open our office. Infection control has always been a top priority of our practice and you may have seen this during your visits to our office. Our infection control processes have always exceeded the recommended guidelines and that when you receive care, it is both safe and comfortable. Due to COVID-19, we have taken further steps to ensure the safety of both our patients and our team members. We have appropriate PPE: N95 masks, face shields and gowns for doctors and staff to wear while seeing patients. In addition, we have installed HEPA filtration units In every room, sneeze guards at the reception areas as well as using Isolite high vacuum suction devices to reduce aerosols. In every room, we have installed Upper Air Ultraviolet Light UVC units. Throughout the day we are fogging and sterilizing patient areas with HOCL, a powerful disinfectant that is 100 times more powerful than bleach and is harmless to humans.
Our office follows infection control recommendations made by the American Dental Association (ADA), the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). We follow the activities of these agencies so that we are up-to-date on any new rulings or guidelines that may be issued.
You may see some changes when it is time for your next appointment. We made these changes to help protect our patients and staff. For example:
Our office will communicate with you beforehand to ask some screening questions. You’ll be asked those same questions again when you are at the office. We will be taking temperatures of patients and staff using a non-contact thermometer. Per CDC guidelines, we will reschedule those who exhibit a fever over 100.4 degrees F, or have symptoms associated with COVID-19.
We have hand sanitizer that we will ask you to use when you enter the office. You will also find some in the reception area and other places in the office for you to use as needed.
You may see that our waiting room will no longer offer magazines, children’s toys and so forth, since those items are difficult to clean and disinfect.
Appointments will be managed to allow for social distancing between patients.
We will do our best to allow greater time between patients to reduce waiting times for you, as well as to reduce the number of patients in the reception area at any one time.
We look forward to seeing you again and are happy to answer any questions you may have about the steps we take to keep you, and every patient, safe in our practice. To make an appointment, please call our office at office 661-833-0101.
Thank you for being our patient. We value your trust and loyalty and look forward to welcoming back our patients, neighbors and friends.
Anthony Ching, DDS and the staff at Southwest Family
PRESS RELEASE by American Dental Association: Report finds COVID-19 Rate Among Dentists is Less than One Percent
CHICAGO, Oct. 15, 2020 — Although assumed to be at high risk for COVID-19, fewer than one percent of dentists nationwide were found to be COVID-19 positive, according to a first-of-its-kind report in the U.S. based on data collected in June 2020. The result is far below that of other health professionals in the U.S. In addition, 99 percent of dentists are using enhanced infection control procedures such as screening protocols and enhanced disinfection practices when treating patients. The report, published online ahead of print by The Journal of the American Dental Association, is the first large-scale collection and publication of U.S. dentists’ infection rates and infection control practices related to COVID-19.
“This is very good news for dentists and patients,” said American Dental Association (ADA) Science and Research Institute Chief Executive Officer Marcelo Araujo, D.D.S., M.S., Ph.D., the senior author of the report. “This means that what dentists are doing – heightened infection control and increased attention to patient and dental team safety – is working.”
Dr. Araujo added that the authors of the report, researchers from the ADA Science and Research Institute and Health Policy Institute based in Chicago, are continuing to collect and will report infection rate data on dentists and have added hygienists to their ongoing survey, in collaboration with the American Dental Hygienists Association.
This report focused on nearly 2,200 dentists in June, finding that 82 percent of dentists were asymptomatic for one month prior to the survey and 16.6 percent reported getting a
COVID-19 test. Those who tested positive were not clustered in any particular geographic region. Among those not tested, less than one percent (0.32) were given a probable COVID-19 diagnosis by a physician. The authors weighted the results to align with U.S. dentists demographically and geographically and found an estimated prevalence of less than one percent (0.9) with a margin of error of 0.5 percent.
“Understanding the risks associated with COVID-19 transmission in the dental setting is critical to improving patient and dental team safety,” said Dr. Araujo. “This study brings us another step forward in understanding what works. Dentists are following ADA and U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidance, and it’s helping to keep the dental team and their patients as safe as possible.”
In March, The New York Times listed dentistry as one of the professions at highest risk of COVID-19 based on data from O*NET, a database maintained by the U.S. Department of Labor. It was presumed that virus transmission could occur because of the close proximity between dental professionals and patients and because many dental procedures generate aerosols that may contain viral particles from infected individuals.
This newly-published report, with the extremely low rate of COVID-19 infection among dentists, supports the effectiveness of the recommendations from the CDC and ADA in preventing virus transmission.
The ADA’s guidance calls for the highest level of personal protective equipment (PPE) available—masks, goggles and face shields. The ADA’s interim guidance also calls for the use of rubber dams and high velocity suction whenever possible and hand scaling when cleaning teeth rather than using ultrasonic scaling to minimize aerosols.
“The fact that dentistry was named one of the most at-risk professions for infection, but has a far lower prevalence of infection compared to other health professions, is not a coincidence,” said Chief Economist and Vice President of the ADA Health Policy Institute Marko Vujicic, Ph.D. “The profession has taken this issue extremely seriously, and it shows. We will continue to track the rate of COVID-19 among dentists and other facets of the pandemic affecting dentistry so it can help inform the dental profession and other industries as well.”