COVID-19 Policies

Dear Pediatric Dental Care of Wilmington Families,

We hope this letter finds you and your family in good health in these most difficult times. All of us have been through a lot over the last few months and all of us are anxious about the welfare of our loved ones and our community. Like your family, our staff has faced many obstacles during lockdown and is looking forward to resuming our normal routines. We are concerned about those who have not been fortunate during the pandemic. Our staff has been shopping for and delivering groceries and medication to the elderly, doing porch pick up and drop offs for neighbors, making masks for the homeless, tutoring students online, donating blood and donating goodies to local fire stations and hospitals.

While many things have changed, one thing has remained the same: our commitment to your child’s dental health and your safety. Now more than ever, the emphasis in our dental practice is safety and cleanliness. Infection control has always been a top priority for our practice and you may have seen this during your visits to our office. Our office always followed universal precautions for infection control outlined by the American Dental Association (ADA), the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). We follow the updates of these agencies so that we are up-to-date on any new rulings or guidance that may be issued. We do this to make sure that our infection control procedures are current and adhere to each agencies’ recommendations. Our infection control processes are made so that when you receive care, it’s both safe and comfortable. We have enhanced our infection control measures with new recommendations. You will see some changes when it is time for your next appointment. We made these changes to help protect our patients and staff. The steps we are taking are specified in the coming pages.

With that being said, we will be open for patients needing treatment starting Wednesday, May 27, 2020. This includes fillings, crowns, nerve treatment, extractions and any emergencies. Per Governor Baker, routine dental cleanings are in phase II and we will reopen for cleanings, sealants, frenectomies, silver diamine fluoride and spacers on June 8, 2020.

We will temporarily expand our days to accommodate all of the patients we had to cancel. We will be reaching out to each family individually by phone to reschedule. Please see scheduling and appointment details on the below pages. We look forward to seeing you again soon and are happy to answer any questions you may have about the steps we are taking to keep you, and every patient, safe in our practice. Thank you for being our patient. We value your trust and loyalty and look forward to welcoming back our patients, families and friends.

Sincerely,

Dr. Marcy and Team

Scheduling Appointments

We will be calling all patients whose visits were cancelled to reschedule. Due to the added health and safety protocols, there will be slight adjustments to existing appointment times and you will receive notification with the updated time via text and email. Please make sure your voicemail box is not full so we can leave messages as needed. We will be turning our appointment reminder system back on so you will receive updated reminders for new visits or changed appointment times. You may also get reminders to book unscheduled treatment or that your child is overdue for a cleaning and we apologize in advance that we cannot turn this feature off, it is automatic.

Per ADA recommendations, you will be screened over the phone for COVID-19 ahead of time. We ask for you to be truthful in your responses and note that as always your confidentiality will be maintained.

We anticipate temporarily opening additional days to accommodate more patients. We ask that you be flexible with us when scheduling for two reasons: To the best of our ability, appointments will be managed to allow for social distancing between patients. Secondly, we will do our best to allow greater time between patients to reduce waiting times for you, as well as to reduce the number of patients in the office at any one time.

Your scheduled appointment time is reserved specifically for your child. Please make every effort to arrive on time as a courtesy to all of our patients. Due to our new check in procedures, if you are running late, there is a high likelihood we would have to reschedule your child’s appointment.

Appointment Protocol

Our “day of” reminder text and email will have a link for the required Patient Screening Form. You must fill out one per patient the day of the appointment. If you do not get it, we can send it to you individually upon check in.

If you are a new patient, you must fill out paperwork electronically ahead of time.

If you are an existing patient, you may be sent applicable consent forms to fill out electronically ahead of time.

We will be collecting any balance and copays over the phone and by “text to pay” a few days ahead of time to prevent handling credit cards and money. We will keep a credit card on file for future payments or balances.

We will be utilizing a virtual waiting room. Please text the office when you arrive by responding to a message from the office or texting 850-816-3482.

If you would like to stay in your car, please call the office at 978-694-4100 to verbally update your contact information, insurance, update medical history and consent for xrays and fluoride. You must drop off and pick up your child in the front vestibule. Your child will be given a dental report card. We may ask you to come in after to discuss findings and treatment recommendations and to schedule.

If you would like to accompany your child to their visit, only one parent/guardian will be allowed per child so we can better follow social distancing with a lower capacity in the office. This may mean that you have to schedule children separately if you have more than one young, fearful or special needs child so we do not have multiple children present for one child’s appointment.

At this time, only those who have appointments will be allowed inside. Do not bring additional guests including grandparents, friends, cousins, etc.

In The Office

As per Governor Baker and state regulation, everyone must wear a mask while in the office. Your mask must be worn properly over the nose and mouth. This includes children ages 2 and up who are able to do so. We will not be providing masks to our patients as they are very difficult even for us to obtain right now.

We will be screening temperatures of all patients their accompanying parent/guardian who come into the office. If you are above 100.4F, you will be sent home, no exceptions. Please have common sense about temperatures. For example: Do not let your child run around outside and get all hot and sweaty before your visit. Do not sit in a car without proper ventilation and have your body temperature rise before your visit, etc.

We will ask everyone to use hand sanitizer when they arrive to the office, either ours or your own.

The door between our reception area and clinical area may be propped open. Please try to keep younger children from running back and forth in this entryway.

For your child’s appointment, we ask the patient come into the operatory alone for their cleaning or treatment if able to prevent exposure to the parent. Exceptions include young, fearful or special needs children who cannot sit alone or cooperate without a parent present. The doors to our treatment areas will be closed.

After your child’s appointment, they will be escorted to the front desk. If you are waiting in the office, we will help you make your next visits. If you are waiting in your car, we will contact you when your child’s appointment is over.

General Notes

If you need to write with a pen, you may bring your own or we will have dirty and clean cups for pens to be sanitized.

Our fabric waiting room bench will be removed since it cannot be wiped down. We have four clusters of chairs for social distancing.

Toys, books and magazines have been removed from the reception area.

All high touch surfaces in common areas will be disinfected routinely throughout the day.

If you would like, bring your own sunglasses instead of using ours which are sanitized with germicidal wipes after each patient.

We may brush your child’s teeth with peroxyl rinse before their visit or have them swish with it as it helps kill viruses.

Your child’s cleaning visit will temporarily not include our water pick and may not include our spin brush or even a toothbrush, just scaling to remove plaque and tartar. Your cleaning will still be very thorough. We may use a new tool called ivory releaf to remove saliva and reduce splatter.

Your child’s procedure visits will involve high speed suction, rubber dam and our newer dryshield to reduce the aerosols produced.

You may see our clinical staff in varying levels of personal protective equipment depending on personal preference and procedure.

Our office may be cold because our clinical staff will be hot in all of their extra gear. Feel free to bring a sweatshirt or blanket for warmth.

We have a new and improved treasure tower and we will help your child select a prize.

If you test positive for COVID-19 within 14 days of your appointment, please contact us so we can alert the people who were in the office the same day. Doing our part with contact tracing helps prevent community spread of infection.

A note from Dr. Marcy in regards to the “Pandemic Patient Protection Fee”

To Our Respected Patients:

The COVID-19 pandemic has affected the world in so many ways. Yes, we are a dental office. However, we are also a small business that is independently owned. Unlike some other businesses, there was simply no way for us to “get inventive” to keep a stream of revenue coming in. Personal protective equipment (PPE) is in high demand and will remain as such for an indefinite period of time. There is a severe shortage of the raw materials needed to fabricate the masks and gowns that are essential for us to protect ourselves and our patients. The companies that produce these materials are working overtime in an effort to meet increased demands. Not only do we need to wear more PPE and change it more frequently, but the associated costs have increased exponentially. Surge pricing is at an all-time high for these one-time use items which must be paid for upfront and purchased in bulk quantities.

We are doing everything we can think of to keep you and our team safe so that we can continue to deliver the same positive experiences and high-quality dentistry you have come to appreciate from us. Our office will be temporarily instituting a $10 booking fee per appointment to help cover the expenses associated with these extra safety measures and materials. By charging an extra fee, we are not trying to cover our losses, but are truly just trying to keep our practice alive and able to provide the healthiest and safest environment while also being able to employ our team members.

For more information regarding our efforts, please see the below document entitled “What Pediatric Dental Care of Wilmington is Doing to Keep You and Our Team Safe.” It is an ever-evolving document outlining our most current protocols. We are grateful for your understanding and acceptance of our new (and hopefully temporary) policy. It is our goal to reach a point where we can remove the fee, and we are dedicated to remaining transparent throughout the process.

We recognize that the fees will vary between us and other offices as each owner makes an individual decision on what is needed to make everyone feel safe enough to come to work and to provide quality care for our patients. We assure you that we have set up new protocols, invested in staff training, and spent a significant amount of money on PPE and cleaning materials all in the name of safety to exceed requirements, return to the new normal and help prevent the spread of infection. Some offices will choose to simply increase their fees overall and not tell you. We believe in transparency. Not every dental office will approach these added costs in the same manner. We hope that you will see the value in our efforts and stick with us through this difficult time.

Wishing you and your family wellness,

Dr. Marcy

What Pediatric Dental Care of Wilmington is Doing to Keep You and Our Team Safe

We are excited to have the opportunity to (slowly) welcome you back! During your visit, you will notice there has been dramatic increase in personal protective equipment (PPE), air filtration systems, and patient screening methods in our office in order to ensure the safety of our patients and staff during the COVID-19 pandemic. We want to tell you about the new infection control procedures in our practice to keep patients and staff safe. Below is a list of some of our enhanced precautions.

  1. Record the temperature and screen team members for symptoms at the beginning of each day.
  2. Personalized arrival procedures to guide you from your car directly to treatment rooms to eliminate contacting surfaces.
  3. Record the temperature of every patient and guardian with a touchless infrared thermometer and repeat screening questions upon check in.
  4. Sneeze guard in the reception area.
  5. Maintain distancing in the reception area for the patient and accompanying guardian.
  6. Providing more education opportunities to enhance your awareness of health issues related to this pandemic.
  7. We request a mask to be worn by all patients upon entering the office. As we have a shortage of PPE already, please prepare in advance by bringing your own mask.
  8. Require hand washing and/or hand sanitizing before all appointments by our team and by our patients.
  9. Introduce an oral pre-rinse to reduce exposure to germs from the mouth.
  10. Enhanced disinfection procedures of equipment and office fixtures with germicidal wipes.
  11. Ambient air management with medical grade HEPA13 air purifiers continuously filtering and removing germs, including COVID-19 from circulating air.
  12. New personal protection equipment like face shields, surgical hats, long coats, gowns, and secure-fit masks for our doctors and team to provide barriers that prove more efficacious against the smallest of germs.
  13. Installation of a washer and dryer for our scrubs, hats, coats and gowns and shoes that stay in the office.
  14. Introduce protocols to reduce or remove saliva and eliminate airborne aerosols during all dental procedures.
  15. Longer appointment times for you to prepare and complete all appointment tasks
    and duties in the safest and most comprehensive manner.
  16. Staggered appointment times to decrease foot traffic in the common areas.
  17. Moving to completely paperless forms.
  18. Payments arranged in advance over the phone or with “text to pay” to allow contactless exit from the appointment.

Please follow us on Facebook and be on the lookout for posts, photos, and videos about our new protocols.https://www.facebook.com/pediatricdentalcareofwilmington/