Office Updates Relating to COVID-19

Click here for the Informed Consent document. By entering our office or allowing your child to enter our office, you will be attesting that you acknowledge the information contained in the document.

For a demonstration on how to check for broken brackets, click here.

 

8-24-2020

Total Orthodontics Patient Family:

The COVID-19 pandemic continues to impact our practice on almost every level. We have made and are in the process of making many changes relative to the virus.  Our changes are driven by SAFETY and balanced with practicality; the changes will not always be popular but they are indeed necessary.   Please read this whole email; it is a little long but important.

Our doctors have each personally spent literally hundreds of hours on research into the best way of handling the pandemic in our office. 

SUMMARY OF CHANGES AND IMPROVEMENTS MADE

  • Increased spacing between clinical chairs in the main operatories
  • We have shut down our in-office brushing station.  At home brushing prior to the appointment remains important.
  • We have invested heavily in isolation, sterilization and other office upgrades.  Specifically, when using the high speed handpiece (drill), we will use a new evacuation machine to collect aerosols at the mouth.  This machine removes particulate matter and it also uses UV technology to disinfect the air and was specifically designed to deal with COVID exposure risk.  We tested several options and this one is clearly the best choice.
  • We have completely changed patient flow and proximity dynamics (multiple times).  
  • Changed several clinical techniques to minimize aerosol exposure
  • Implemented whole office HOCL disinfectant fogging
  • Improvements in PPE for staff, required masks for patients, enhanced patient intake procedures
  • Frequent disinfection of non-clinical surfaces
  • We continue to schedule appointments primarily over the phone
  • We continue to sterilize using the latest techniques and have purchased more instrument sterilizing machines “just in case”
  • Our entire team has undergone multiple OSHA trainings in the past 3 months–far beyond the requirements
  • Our game rooms remain closed and no food or drink is served in the office

POLICY CHANGES–IMPORTANT

If you are visiting Total Orthodontics for a new patient exam or Kids Club/Observation appointment, please ignore the section below about parents not accompanying the child.  We DO want parents to come into the office for new patient and Kids Club appointments.

    • LOBBY/NUMBER OF PATIENTS IN THE OFFICE
  • One thing which has become increasingly apparent is that limiting the number of non-patient individuals in the office is critical to the health of our employees and our patient families. 
  • As with all previous correspondence, we continue to request that parents please wait in the car.  Siblings without an appointment are not allowed to be in our office at any time.   This is in alignment with CO Department of Public Health Order 20-29.  You may accompany your child to the front door of our office suite, of course.  Initially, most parents followed our request, but now it has become a concern again and we have too many people in the lobby at times.  Interestingly, this is our biggest struggle of all with COVID, managing the lobby.  We would love more than anything to chat with parents and siblings, catch up, laugh and enjoy seeing one another, but that is not fully possible right now.  
    • We have 5 socially distanced seats (or groups of two chairs) in each office lobby.  That is all we can have.  If you decide to come into the office instead of waiting in the car and you find our lobby full, please send your child in to check in and we will find a distanced place for your child.  In this case, parents are asked to either return to their car or wait in the hallway until a lobby chair becomes available.  You may not simply stand in the lobby if the chairs are full.  
    • We will call you at the end of the appointment on your child’s cell phone (on speaker phone) and update you on treatment and we will then either send the child down to the car or you may come up to get him/her.  This protocol of calling the parents at the end of the appointment began in April and it has been working well, we feel.  Yes, we hate the “new normal” as well!
    • Please understand that we treat patients as young as 6 years of age and parents of the youngest children generally have the greatest need to be in the lobby.
    • Parents will only be allowed to enter our clinic areas if requested to do so by a staff member.  Patients cannot wear their masks while they have an adjustment done, so we cannot have additional people in the clinic.  If you feel you must be with your child at the chair, let our front desk know upon checking in and we will make an accommodation.  
  • Even if you come into the office, all future appointments will be made over the phone in an effort to minimize the number of people in the lobby and for the safety of our front desk team.

SIMPLIFIED CHECK-IN PROCEDURES–EFFECTIVE IMMEDIATELY. 

You will no longer have to fill out a screening form for each visit.  Please “click here”  to see the COVID consent form, a shorter version of which will be emailed with all appointment reminders.  A shortened version will also be posted outside our door.  By entering our office or allowing your child to enter our office, you will be attesting that you acknowledge the information contained in the document.

  • You will no longer have to call from the parking lot to “check in”.
  • Temperatures will continue to be taken at both offices on all patients upon checking in.  We will soon have two new self-serve temperature kiosks that measure body temperature.  Please scan yourself.  Our staff will gladly show the kids how to do it.  No, it does not store any personal information on you; it just checks your temperature!
  • All patients MUST arrive in our office suite 5 minutes prior to their scheduled appointment times and check in with our front desk.  Everything in our offices takes longer than it used to and COVID has stripped us of our ability to be flexible.  Those who do not arrive the prescribed 5 minutes prior to the appointment will almost certainly have to reschedule.  Historically, at least ten patients every day have arrived more than 15 minutes past their appointment start times and we have still seen them.  We can no longer do this in a safe manner and there is no chance of a doctor running on time if his/her patients arrive late.   If you have loose/broken appliances/brackets, please call us before the appointment so we may lengthen it.  If you do not call, you will likely have to come back for the repair.

For those individuals who are most concerned about the virus, we suggest that you schedule your appointments during our slowest times, between 10AM and 2PM.  Scheduling during these times is also advised if you, as a parent, wish to be in the lobby.

Finally, please remember that most of our team members have children of school age.  They are subject to all of the outside COVID-related pressures and inconveniences that our patient families face with partial at home learning, and they are trying to work full time at a job which has inflexible hours.  If we have a staff member unable to work due to a COVID-related event, it could result in the need to reschedule patients with little notice.  We will do our best to balance safety and convenience and minimize reschedules (we actually have not had to reschedule due to this yet) but we want you to know ahead of time that this could happen.  Thankfully, we already have plenty of appointments available, so we have a “buffer”.

Questions and concerns may be directed to our Practice Administrator, Teresa, at pa@tosmiles.com.  Thank you for your understanding during these difficult times!  

Dr. Theroux, Dr. Barefoot, and the Total Orthodontics Team