COVID -19 Enhanced Safety Protocols

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Enhanced Safety Protocols as of June 2020

We would like to thank all who have had your appointment delayed during these times. Your patience and your willingness to protect the most vulnerable members of our community has given us the opportunity to make some big upgrades to the way we will protect your safety going forward.

While we are currently awaiting guidelines from Health Canada, the Royal College of Dental Surgeons of Ontario (RCDSO) and the Public Health Ontario, we are prepared to get back into the clinic and help our patients, and do so in a safe manner! We will be calling all of our patients who had an emergency over the closure. We will also (when allowed) be calling all those who had a scheduled appointment that was cancelled. When we initially return to work we will be taking care of emergency treatment and then moving into urgent treatment as dictated by the province. 

We have always complied with strict provincially-mandated protocols to maintain a highly sterile environment within our dental office. These guidelines were created to safeguard against the spread of severely contagious diseases such as tuberculosis and measles, and they are equally effective in managing the spread of influenza and the coronavirus. In response to the current pandemic, we have augmented our safety protocols in a number of areas, including but not limited to:  

  • Daily Employee Health Screening including temperature
  • Patient Health Screening including temperature and oximeter reading
  • Office Social Distancing
  • Common Area Sterilization
  • Personal Protective Equipment
  • Team training on a variety of new protocols to limit virus spread
  • Plexiglass shields or masks where social distancing is not possible
  • Posters explaining social distancing and handwashing
  • Hand sanitizer for all  patients on entrance and exit to clinic             

The safety of our patients and team is our highest priority. The added protections described below have been vetted with guidance from the CDC, the RCDSO, Health Canada, and Public Health Ontario.

Enhanced Safety Protocols Implemented:

1. Employees are regularly screened (daily) for COVID-19 risk factors (travel/illness) and those at risk are required to self-quarantine for 14 days prior to returning to work. 

2. All employees have their temperatures monitored twice daily. 

3. Patients are screened for COVID-19 risk factors and pre-existing conditions when scheduling and upon arrival and asked to reschedule if risk factors are present. Patient temperatures and oximeter reading are taken at check-in as a further screening precaution.

 4. To facilitate patient social distancing in the office, schedules are being staggered and patients are asked to wait for their appointments in their vehicles. After treatment is completed, patients are guided to the check-out desk individually to avoid crowding. Patients are asked to wear masks at all times except while being treated. 

5. Employees are also practicing social distancing by not congregating in common areas and maintaining a six foot separation from each other outside the treatment areas. 

6. Common areas (waiting room, restroom, door handles, reception desk, etc.) are cleaned frequently, every two hours or as needed, with disinfecting wipes (Ontario Guidelines indicate twice daily). Pens, clipboards and the debit terminal are wiped after each patient use, and all magazines and books have been removed from waiting room and operatories. 

7. All employees are utilizing additional layers of personal protective equipment (PPE) and clinical staff are asked to arrive at the office in street clothes before changing into scrubs for the day. For high risk procedures, providers will wear all normal PPE and additionally wear face shields, gowns and N95 respirators as required. The PPE worn by clinical staff will be disposed after each patient.  Non-clinical personnel wear gloves and surgical masks when disinfecting the common areas and interacting with patients. 

8. Patients are asked to sanitize their hands and pre-rinse for 60 seconds with a 1% hydrogen peroxide rinse to decrease the viral and bacterial load prior to treatment.

9. Oral isolation and suction devices are utilized for all aerosol producing procedures. 

10. Following each patient visit, operatory is left empty (with the door closed) to permit the clearance and/or settling of aerosols and will remain empty for a minimum of one hour (fallow time) to achieve 99.9% removal of airborne contaminants. At the end of the fallow time, the operatory will be fully sanitized and disinfected, prior to treating next patient.   All ancillary clinical equipment (loupes, headlamps, face shields, keyboards, etc.) will be wiped and disinfected.

We appreciate our patients’ cooperation and understanding as we adhere to these strict safety protocols. 

Thank you for your patience and understanding,

Dr. Francis Long, D.D.S.



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