May 10, 2020
To our dear patients and friends:
We hope that this finds you and your family in good health! A week ago, the county released a FAQ page and in it, there was verbiage that indicated that we could resume seeing patients for routine and preventive care. Later that same day, our state dental association released a statement that we, as dentists, need to wait for further guidance from the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) before opening our doors. Word from the CDPH came in the late hours of Thursday May 7th that outline guidance for dental practices. That release also indicated that we must follow our county in the event that they issue stricter rules than the CDPH. I just checked our county website and it still indicates that we are allowed to see patients for routine and preventive dental care. We are ecstatic to announce that our re-opening is imminent.
The guidance from the CDPH has detailed protocol that must be followed in order for us to open our doors. As you all are aware, it has always been our focus to provide the safest environment for our team as well as our patients and friends. It is extremely comforting to know that we had already updated our Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) over the past several weeks and that our efforts have been validated by the CDPH protocols. Our updated SOP had already included all of the protocols released by the CDPH. Our SOP also includes safety and disinfection measures that extend beyond and exceed the protocols of the CDPH.
Dentistry has always been a profession that involved meticulous infection control measures, so we feel that we have always been trained to provide a safe environment for ourselves and our patients. To ensure that our entire team is prepared for the extended and enhanced protocols, we have held two information and training sessions with our team. We will continue that training with physical walkthroughs and role playing this coming week.
While we are thrilled to open our doors and see you all again, we are calling this a “soft opening”. Dentistry will look a bit different when you come in to see us. For example, some of the changes that you will notice include:
• You will be asked screening questions when making your appointment, as well as when you arrive for your appointment.
• You may be asked to wait in your car or outside of our building, until we are ready to seat you.
• We ask that you arrive with a face covering/mask when you enter the office. (Due to the current shortage of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), we ask that you provide your own face covering,
• We will be taking your temperature when you arrive.
• You will be asked to wash your hands with soap and water or to use the hand sanitizer that we will have available when you arrive.
• You will notice that our reception area will look different. Some of the chairs have been removed, the magazines have been removed and the water refrigerator is no longer accessible. This has all been done to minimize surfaces to touch as well as to maintain adequate social distancing.
• We will have reduced and/or limited scheduling options to provide for reduced number of patients in the office and allow for adequate social distancing.
• We will ask that you arrive alone or have anyone accompanying you to wait outside or in the car. We will certainly make exceptions for minors or others that may need to be accompanied by you or others.
• We may request payment prior to your appointment to help minimize guests in the reception area.
When this pandemic hit and we were forced to close, many of you were rescheduled. We then had to place many of you on a “call list” as available appointments are all the way into July/August and beyond, especially appointments for dental hygiene. We had thought that when we re-opened our doors, that we would be able “flip a switch” and add additional hygiene hours and days to accommodate those of you who had to miss your hygiene appointment. We now know that this will not be the case. We will actually need to reduce the number of hours and appointments (at least temporarily) to provide for a safe environment with as much social/physical distancing as possible.
We have created a priority appointment list so that we can reschedule you all chronologically as you were forced to miss your appointment. We will certainly do our very best at rescheduling you all in a timely manner, but I do feel that it is possible that some of you will miss a cleaning in your cycle of dental hygiene. We will do all we can to minimize this and reschedule as many of you as we are able to. We apologize for this situation that we are in and please know that the safety of our team as well as all of you is of utmost priority.
We look forward to seeing you and will be reaching out to you to make your appointment. If you have any questions, please call our office at (650) 321-0915 and Marilyn, Aaron or Charmaine will be happy to assist you.
Most of all, thank you for your patience and for being our patient. As you all know, we have always been a relationship based practice and we consider our team and all of you an extension of our family. We appreciate you and value your trust and loyalty. We can’t wait to welcome you all back to our office.
Dr. Nabeta, Dr. Salcedo and Team