Pediatric Dentistry of Brooklyn’s COVID-19 Response
COVID-19 Protocol Update
December 20, 2021
With the spread of the newest Omicron strain, we wanted to update you on our current safety protocols, procedures, and technology so that you can be assured that we are as up to date as possible regarding the health and safety of our patients and our staff.
At Pediatric Dentistry of Brooklyn, while many things have changed, our commitment to our patients’ health and safety remains our primary concern.
We want you to feel as comfortable as possible with bringing your children back to our office for dental care and we are proud to highlight the steps we have taken to make it as safe as possible.
With the onset of COVID-19, both OSHA and the CDC have issued updated guidelines for dental offices. Our office has contracted with an Environmental Health and Safety consulting firm to develop and coordinate our custom updated protocols, as well as provide all the direct training to our doctors and staff. Our office standard is modeled on the standard used in hospitals to treat active COVID patients with dental emergencies.
A visit to the dentist carries the same risks of exposure to COVID-19 as a visit to any public setting. However, visiting the dentist has additional risk due to the potential for exposure to aerosol (liquid or solid fragments from the mouth) produced by dental procedures. Since almost all dental procedures produce aerosols, this concern needs to be dealt with even more comprehensively in a dental office setting.
With that in mind, we have arranged our office schedule adjusting appointment times to limit direct interaction with other patients while in the office. Although the number of appointment slots have decreased per day, we have expanded our office and increased the number of private treatment rooms available. We are trying to group families together and to designate specific adjacent treatment rooms so each family unit can be seen in the same area of the office.
We ask that only one parent per family enter the office to accompany each visit. We also ask that children who are not seeing the dentist not be brought along to the dental visit.
In addition, we have developed the following procedures:
- A COVID19 screening questionnaire will be completed at appointment confirmation via email. If, prior to your appointment, you, your child, or a household member experiences ANY COVID-19 symptoms, or had recent exposure to COVID19, please call the office to reschedule your child’s appointment.
- Upon entering the ground floor lobby of 32 Court Street, all visitors will stop at a digital kiosk where they will be asked to complete a short health questionnaire (YES, NO, or N/A answers). Building personnel will be ensuring that all visitors are wearing appropriate face coverings, as per New York law. Social distancing rules will be maintained in elevators by limiting the number of passengers per car. Please allow for extra time to enter the building and arrive at our office on the 6th floor.
- Upon entry to our office, all patients, and caregivers, as well as all doctors and office staff, will be screened for fever using touchless thermometer. Any individuals with COVID19-like symptoms or a fever of at least 100.3° F will be asked to return home (Please note that the CDC defines a fever as ≥100.4°F.)
- All visitors must sanitize their hands immediately upon entering the office using one of the hand sanitizing stations throughout the office. Face coverings must be worn by all staff and parents throughout the appointment.
- Our waiting room has been rearranged to ensure that there can be distinct areas for families to safely sit. Furthermore, we have installed plexiglass barriers on the counters in front of our smiling office staff and updated our credit card equipment to allow for contactless payment options.
We are utilizing Swiss iQAir HealthPro Plus Air Purifiers in the common areas, and Surgically Clean Air surgical filters in each dental treatment room. These sanitize air at a much higher standard than regular HEPA filtration systems. This allows us to filter and clear all air in the operatories more completely of any potential aerosolized emissions. These powerful air purifiers filter the air faster than the current CDC recommendations for air changes per hour (ACH). Together, these measures greatly reduce aerosol issues throughout the entire dental office.
Even before COVID, we had already been utilizing specialized high speed suction equipment for the doctors to use during aerosol generating filling procedures. Studies show that this equipment reduces aerosols by up to 90%.
Of utmost importance are the appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) which each medical professional will be wearing. The gowns and gloves are similar to what we have worn before, but you will immediately notice that the doctors, assistants and hygienists are all wearing surgical masks over a brand name N95 mask, as well as a face shield. All PPE are changed or disinfected between every patient interaction.
Fogging disinfection systems:
We have invested in multiple portable commercial fogging systems, which are used in each dental treatment room after every family unit. The fogging systems are also used in the waiting room and common areas at set scheduled times throughout the day. We also have established a strict disinfection/schedule addressing all of the high touch areas throughout the office using the highest-level EPA approved disinfectant for COVID-19.
The building has recently renovated the bathrooms on our floor, and they are sanitized throughout the day for the safety of all visitors. Please note that the bathroom inside our office must now be limited to staff and employees for the foreseeable future.
As required by NYC law, all staff in our office are properly vaccinated against COVID-19. In summary:
Our office protocols are modeled on the standards that were instituted for dental clinics in hospital settings during the 2020 shutdown when having to treat covid-positive patients with emergencies. At this standard, all our patients and our staff are fully insulated from any exposures. Since children typically don’t show advance COVID symptoms even with temperature and symptom screening, we must assume that every patient interaction may lead to finding out later that someone was positive. We have not relaxed our standards since re-opening in June 2020 and our vigilance remains at the highest level possible.
Each treatment room is filtered with surgical filtration units that have complete air turnover of the room every 2.5 minutes. Any staff in the room during treatment is wearing an N95 masks, a second level 2 mask, and a face shield, as well as a disposable gown, and is also fully vaccinated. Each treatment room is disinfected by our fogging systems between every patient family.
The common office areas (waiting areas and hallways) are masked zones, and have continuous filtration as well with filtration units, and are also disinfected using our fogging systems three times during the day.
Taken together, this ensures that each patient and staff member is fully protected and isolated from any type of potential exposure during their time in our office.
We want every parent to feel comfortable with the steps being taken to minimize health risks during these unprecedented times while we continue to provide the highest quality dental care in our child friendly environment. We are committed to the highest standards of patient safety, comfort and care. We thank you in advance for your patience, understanding and flexibility during these challenging times.
If you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to reach out to me directly. Sincerely,
Zev Tendler, DDS and the PDOB Family