Orthodontic care is important not just for the beautiful smile it provides, but also for helping you enjoy years of better oral health. Unfortunately, the COVID-19 pandemic has kept many people away from the orthodontist, despite the fact that practices remain open. That’s not surprising — many people are worried that when they seek orthodontic care, they could be increasing their risks of contracting the disease.
The good news is, thanks to current guidelines in place at Freedom Orthodontics, you can still get the orthodontic care you need in an environment that’s optimized for your health and safety. At our office in Cedar Park, Texas, Brendan Smith, DDS, MS, and the entire team work tirelessly to keep our practice clean and sanitized.
Here’s what we’re doing to make sure your orthodontic care is uninterrupted during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Safety practices for your health and ours
At Freedom Orthodontics, our practice implements safety protocol following guidelines established by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the American Dental Association (ADA), and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).
These guidelines are based on the most current data for the disease, evolving to meet new challenges as they are recognized. Indications are that these guidelines have been very effective: According to ongoing, updated research from the ADA, fewer than 1% of dentists and hygienists nationwide have tested positive for COVID-19.
What do those guidelines mean for you? Here are a few examples of what we’re doing to help our patients and staff stay safe and healthy:
Preparing for your visit
Many of the protocols we’ve implemented have to do with what happens when you’re getting treatment. But there are things you’ll need to do even before you’re sitting in the orthodontist chair.
When you make your appointment, you might notice fewer open slots and longer times between appointments. Increasing time between appointments means fewer patients in the office at one time as well as less waiting time for you.
While we used to provide new toothbrushes for patients who needed to brush upon arrival, there is a chance that the spray that’s created during brushing could transmit germs. Rather than provide those brushes for in-office brushing, we’re asking all patients to brush well before they come in for their appointment.
We telephone you before your appointment to ask a few screening questions. These questions help determine your COVID-19 “risk factors,” like identifying possible exposures or symptoms you might have.
During your visit
To support social distancing, you’ll need to call or text us once you arrive in the parking lot. We let you know when we’re ready for you to come in. This way, we can limit the number of patients in our practice at any given time.
As soon as you come in, we take your temperature. If you have a fever or other COVID-19 or flu-like symptoms, we ask you to reschedule your visit. If you have a friend or family member with you, they’ll need to stay in the car during your appointment. The only exception is for patients who require assistance during their visit.
You’ll need to wear a face mask when you come in (our staff will be wearing them too). If you don’t have a mask, we provide one for you. You’ll also need to use hand sanitizer, which we provide at the desk and in other areas of the practice for your use. We’ve eliminated all magazines, beverage stations, and similar elements from our waiting room, since these items are difficult to disinfect.
When we’re ready for you to come back to the treatment area, we ask you to wash your hands and use mouthwash. Throughout your visit, all our care providers will use personal protective equipment (PPE) according to current guidelines to help keep everyone healthy and safe.
Stay on track with your orthodontic treatment
Whether you’re in the middle of your course of care or you’re contemplating having orthodontic treatment, stringent health and safety measures at our practice help ensure you can (and should) still get the care you need during the COVID-19 pandemic.
To learn more about COVID-19 practices at our office or to schedule a visit, give us a call or request an appointment online today.