The initial rollback of restrictions has begun in Virginia. Doctors, dentists, and veterinarians in Richmond are now seeing patients for non-emergency visits. In our practice, we have resumed our regular hours and are performing regular dental treatment, however, we have changed how we run our day-to-day operations to cope with the continuation of the virus. We are following the guidelines set by the Virginia Dental Association, American Dental Association, and Center for Disease Control. I will not go through all of our changes, but I do want to highlight some of the key changes that will impact your dental visits in the foreseeable future.
1. Your car is our new waiting room
In order to adhere to social distancing principles with other patients coming and going from the office we are asking patients to call us when they arrive in our parking lot. Once we verify that your room is ready and no other patients are in the waiting room we will call you to come into our office. We will have you fill out a COVID-19 questionnaire and take your temperature before escorting you to your room. In maintaining the safety of our team and our patients, if you are deemed high risk for having or having been exposed to COVID-19 we will ask you to reschedule your appointment.
2. We will be wearing masks at all times
Normally we only wear masks while we are in the process of doing dental procedures. While this will still be the case, our entire team is now wearing masks at all times when we are unable to follow social distancing protocols. We are encouraging our patients to also wear their own masks to and from the office.
3. We’re putting an umbrella around your tooth
We use an air and water spray when we are removing cavities for fillings or crowns. This air and water spray mixes with your saliva and floats into the air as tiny droplets known as aerosols. Unfortunately, there is no way to wear a mask and have a cavity fixed, but by using a rubber dam we can get pretty darn close. Custom holes are punched into a sheet of rubber and stretched around the tooth or teeth being worked on. It acts as an umbrella for the mouth (maybe it’s a stretch, but it made for a good tagline). This is beneficial because we are creating a barrier between the mouth and the air/water spray applied to the tooth as it is being fixed.
4. Virtual consultations will reduce chair side conversations
We pride ourselves in taking the time to discuss treatment options and explain dental procedures to allow our patients to be a part of the treatment process. Conversely, we have been advised to limit the amount of face-to-face contact time and reduce the number of patient visits to our office. In order to achieve an equilibrium, Dr. Bousaba is scheduling time for virtual consultations to review treatment plan recommendations, discuss treatment options, or simply to answer questions regarding a specific dental treatment.