The COVID-19 pandemic has presented many challenges for our dental community. Dental providers in Minnesota were required by a COVID-19 pandemic peacetime emergency Executive Order to postpone all elective dental care for an extended period of time. Once we resumed elective dental care after the order was terminated, we faced the task of rescheduling all the appointments we had to cancel. We are currently scheduling appointments and providing essential and non-essential dental services with new COVID-19 protocols in place while still uncertain what the future holds.
We are following guidelines that are necessary while we are in the midst of the pandemic. We have implemented many changes for the safety of our staff and our patients. We are fully compliant with all COVID-19 mandates from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, along with directives from the American Dental Association and Minnesota Board of Dentistry. We have established a new COVID-19 infection prevention protocol for our office. Patients will notice many changes with additional precautions now in place:
All patients and visitors are required to wear a mask when entering the clinic. A mask will be provided for anyone who arrives without one. The mask is required until exiting the building except during treatment.
All patients and visitors are required to use provided hand sanitizer upon arrival before entering the office area.
Patients can be accompanied by no more than one person. All others will have to wait outside the office.
A COVID-19 Screening/Risk Assessment form review and a COVID-19 Informed Consent form signature is required.
A temperature scan is done with a touchless forehead thermometer for all patients at the front desk upon arrival as part of the screening process.
The reception room has been rearranged for social distancing.
All magazines, newspapers and toys have been removed from the waiting area.
Plexiglas barriers have been placed on the front desk counters.
Appointment times are staggered so multiple people are not arriving at the same time to allow for social distancing. Patients should arrive at their scheduled appointment time. Late arrival will disrupt our daily schedule and appointment will have to be rescheduled.
Longer times are allowed for each scheduled appointment. Patients may not be able to schedule the preferred time that they have in the past. We are able to accommodate fewer patients per day and wait times when making appointments may be extended.
Clinical staff are using additional personal protective equipment and are now wearing gowns over lab coats/scrub attire, head covers, face shields, face masks and gloves. This may be intimidating for young children and parents may choose to postpone appointments for those under age 12.
A disposable drape is used to cover each patient during treatment.
Patients rinse with an antimicrobial mouth rinse prior to starting procedures.
While every precaution possible for the safety of our staff and our patients are in place, we want everyone to be aware that the COVID‐19 virus is a serious and highly contagious disease.
The virus has a long incubation period.
Someone may have the virus and not show symptoms and yet still be highly contagious.
Determining who is infected by COVID‐19 is challenging and complicated.
The World Health Organization has classified it as a pandemic.
You could contract COVID‐19 from a variety of sources.
The COVID-19 virus can be contracted anywhere and there is an increased risk of contracting the COVID‐19 virus in a dental setting. We are required to inform our patients of this risk and your overall health is important to us. We understand if a patient prefers to postpone dental care until the COVID-19 pandemic has passed and there is less risk.
Elderly people and those with a compromised immune system due to a health condition are more at risk than others. Patients in a high-risk group should consider postponing treatment. A health history review will be done at each appointment and you may be advised to wait until we know the COVID-19 risk has decreased.
Our staff is screened daily and anyone with signs of illness will not be in the office. We all have families and we are all very confident that we are working in a safe environment that will not expose us or our loved ones. We have done everything possible to assure our safety.
We are asking patients to call us to reschedule if they do not feel well on the day of their appointment. A forehead thermometer temperature scan will be taken when patients arrive and anyone with an elevated temperature (100.0 or above) will not be seen for their scheduled treatment.
Everyone has been impacted by the pandemic crisis in many ways. While many things have changed, our commitment to staff and patient safety has remained the same. We are happy to answer any questions about our COVID-19 pandemic protocol.
Rushford Dental Staff