To all our amazing patients and families,
Thank you so much for your continued patience and understanding while our offices have been closed as we collectively navigate this challenging time. We hope you and your families are all doing well.
We would like to provide an update on our plans to begin resuming patient care. NY on Pause has been extended for our region as of late last night. Throughout the week, the NY State Dental Association has been providing guidance on how the “on Pause” relates to the practice of dentistry. As per the NYSDA, we are not yet able to return to providing routine care, but we are encouraged to use our professional judgment when determining what qualifies as urgent and can be managed in office at this time.
As such, we plan to reopen slowly and in stages. We will begin with significantly fewer patients in our schedule to limit the number of people in the office at any time in order to maintain appropriate social distancing. We will be prioritizing patients with more urgent needs, as per the guidelines by the NY State Dental Association and the governor’s office.
As we ultimately return to routine care, we will be minimizing procedures that generate aerosols, as these are considered to be higher risk. Thankfully, orthodontics requires far less use of aerosol-generating procedures than other areas of dentistry, and we have acceptable alternatives for many aerosol-producing procedures. However, certain appointments such as removal of braces and aligner attachments are high aerosol producing, considered higher risk and may continue to be postponed. Other appointments (i.e. retainer checks, some appliance checks, and growth observation appointments) will be done virtually to reduce the need for office visits. We will continue to be in touch with everyone over the next several weeks regarding scheduling, and we ask for your understanding, as some appointments will need to be rescheduled to accommodate our reduced capacity. We generally pride ourselves on our ability to accommodate our patients’ schedules, and we apologize in advance for any inconvenience.
When you come in for your appointment, you will notice several changes that will make our office environment as safe as possible for you and our team:
Prior to your appointment
- The day before your appointment, we will include a link to a wellness questionnaire and updated consent in the appointment confirmation text and/or email. These must be filled out prior to each appointment, and we ask that you complete this and return it to us before coming to the office. If there are concerns about your health, we will reschedule when it is deemed safe.
- Please brush your teeth thoroughly before coming to the office, as our brushing stations will be closed to prevent cross contamination.
During the appointment
- When you arrive at the office, we request that you wait in your car or outside the office and text or call the office to let us know you are here. We will check you in and let you know when we’re ready for you.
- We would like to request that only one person accompany the patient inside the office, and if possible it is preferred if the patient enters the office alone.
- All of our team members will be wearing face masks, and we will require anyone who enters the office to wear a face covering over the mouth and nose. Patients will remove their face covering while treatment is being done in their mouth, but otherwise it must be worn at all times in the office. We are able to provide a mask if you do not have one, but due to supply shortages we ask that you bring your own if you are able to.
- Upon entering the office, we will have all patients sanitize their hands
- If more than one patient is in the office at once, we will not seat them in adjacent chairs, so as to maintain appropriate social distancing between patients.
- If and when procedures are done involving aerosols, we will have patients rinse with a hydrogen peroxide rinse prior to the procedure.
After the appointment
- For kids who come in alone, we will provide a progress report and next appointment form to update parents on treatment progress and today’s visit
- We will also be practicing socially distant scheduling, which means that most office visits will be more spread out than they were previously, and some office visits will be replaced with a virtual appointment.
Our team has always practiced strict infection control procedures with respect to the sterilization of our instruments and disinfection of all surfaces in patient care areas in compliance with OSHA and CDC standards and will continue to do so in accordance with current guidelines.
As we make our way back toward routine care, we will be working through our missed appointment schedule week by week, so we appreciate your continued patience as we contact everybody. If you have not heard from us, and there is something you believe to be more urgent, you may always reach out to us by phone, text, email or provide progress photos through the virtual appointment links below.
For Tuckahoe patients: https://reviewtool.com/vc/64AWerH8D0oYwkJ3
For Riverdale patients: https://reviewtool.com/vc/4d3DQnWxScfwgs17
We know this was a long email, so thank you for reading this far! We again want to express our sincerest gratitude to all of you for your patience and understanding throughout this process. Our team is very much looking forward to seeing you all again, and to slowly getting back to “normal” day to day life. We are hopeful and optimistic that such a challenging time in the world will breed great creativity and ingenuity that will ultimately improve our collective future. We are all in this together, and we will make the best of it! See you all soon!
All the best,
Dr. Woo, Dr. Polan, and the Riverdale and Tuckahoe Family Orthodontics team