We hope this letter finds you and your family in good health and spirits.
We are back and are relieved to be back since finding and implementing a unique, safe solution that goes far above all new infection control guidelines made by the American Dental Association (ADA), Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).
The following outlines our new, unique, comprehensive healthcare protocol and provides some insight into what we have done and to assure you of our commitment to all of our safety.
The research we have done since COVID began has been intense, highly focused and ultimately very rewarding. We designed our comprehensive multi-layered infection control system to utilize new high tech equipment and proven techniques to control, capture, disinfect, and minimize all risk from droplets, aerosols, close contact, and surface contaminates and pathogens.
We are one of the very few offices implementing such a protective protocol to provide you with the safest and most comfortable environment possible, and we would not practice any other way!
The staff and patient response to our new and strengthened protocol has been amazing.
Our COVID-19 infection control systems and protocols include:
IQAir HealthProPlus HyperHEPA Air Filtration with Isolated, Directed Negative Pressure As soon as the COVID-19 crisis unfolded, we immediately imported medical-grade IQAir HyperHEPA HealthProPlus Mobile Negative Pressure and Directed Filtration Suction units from Switzerland. For COVID-19 as well as any other viral, bacterial or fungal pathogen, these units control, contain, and eliminate aerosol risk.
This Swiss-made device is the game-changer for all, and very few dental offices have been able to secure them. These units utilize the highest level of medical-grade HyperHEPA filter available (which IQAir invented).
These specially designed units were initially developed and designed for hospital use and were used extensively and successfully in dealing with the 2003 SARS viral epidemic. We are fortunate to be one few offices in San Diego to have acquired these unique directed extra-oral air filtration systems.
The IQAir HyperHEPA HealthProPlus Air Filtration System filters fine and ultra-fine particles down to a size of 0.003 microns, which is 100 times smaller than the typical True HEPA filter and 40 times smaller than the size of viruses (COVID-19 is 0.12 microns). This filtration capability is far superior to typical (non-hyper level) HEPA filters, which are certified to filter particles larger than 0.3 microns.
An IQAir HealthProPlus unit sits aside each dental chair and has a large articulating arm that is placed near the patient’s mouth and captures and filters all aerosols. That means the unit will capture any viral (COVID-19), bacterial or fungal pathogens. These units are in continuous use throughout the entire day, further ensuring that our air is continually cleansed of any contaminants.
Hypochlorous Acid 100% Non-Toxic SMOS Mist Fogger We have further strengthened our infection control and sterilization protocols for droplet, surface, and contact transmissions for pathogens by implementing the use of non-toxic foggers to efficiently and rapidly distribute EPA and FDA approved disinfectant solutions. We use stabilized super mixed oxidant solutions (SMOS), powered with hypochlorous acid (HOCl). HOCl is widely used in the food industry and in hospitals, and is one of the most effective EPA and FDA certified disinfectants available.
These solutions are between 80 and 200 times more effective than bleach, but are 100% safe and non-toxic. While most traditional disinfectants require long dwell times (up to ten minutes) SMOS is shown to be effective in as quickly as seconds when aerosolized.
Furthermore, HOCl is harmless to all patients, staff and surfaces, unlike many other leading common disinfectants that have harsh chemicals that harm staff and facilities over time.
High Speed High Volume Dual Suction and Air Evacuation Systems We continue to utilize patented Isolite intra oral devices, Purevac high speed high volume evacuation (HVE) systems and common dual HVE in all dental operatories. These combined technologies draw large volumes of water and air (and thus aerosol particles) before they leave the mouth. These HVE suction systems are a vast improvement over the old low volume systems or single HVE systems. These systems have been in use by us for years, and we have implemented additional devices and attachments to enhance ergonomics and safety of treatment.
UV Light We use UV lights as an adjunct to further sterilize treatment rooms when not in use. Scientific and clinical studies have shown that ultraviolet light is an effective tool that eradicates viruses and germs and has been in use for decades in hospitals and operating rooms.
Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) We have implemented all standard PPE recommended guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), California Dental Association (CDA), and the San Diego County Dental Society (SDCDS) for your protection and ours.
This protocol includes fitted certified N95 filtered respirator masks, approved protective outerwear or gowns, clear protective face shields, protective eye glasses, and latex-free gloves.
COVID-19 Patient Screening Procedures We are adhering to CDA, CDC, and SDCDS guidelines as follows:
We will be screening for any COVID -19 symptoms, taking temperatures and an oral health history.
We will communicate with you before your appointment to ask some screening questions regarding your health and recent travels.
Upon arrival we use touchless thermometers to take your temperature
We will provide hand sanitizer for you to use before you enter the office and we will have this available throughout the office.
All patients and any accompanying visitors will be asked to wear a mask at all times. We would encourage accompanying visitors other than parents to wait in their car or outside the office if possible.
Appointments will be managed to allow for social distancing. We will do our best to allow a greater time between patients and to continually limit the number of patients in the reception area.
Each patient before their treatment begins will be provided an oral pre-rinse to help kill viruses and bacteria in the mouth.
Treatment and common areas are cleaned and disinfected after every patient, including countertops, bathroom, door knobs, payment devices, etc.
With all of our added levels of protection, we may have overbuilt our infection control standards, but frankly we would not have it any other way. Given the seriousness of this pandemic we have been focused, proactive, diligent, and responsible in creating a highly controlled, safe, comfortable environment for us all.
If you have any questions or concerns call our office and we will share with you all we have done and continue to do to be safe and healthy!
We look forward to seeing you soon,
Dr. Jennifer Rens Dr. Dan Gibson And the La Jolla Dental Office Team
I want to thank you for your kindness and generosity. Sometimes in life someone will recognize your struggle and lend a helping hand ... you really have been supportive and I appreciate the professionalism you extended to me. Not only do I have a lot of respect for your skills as a doctor, but also for your heart as a person. Thanks again - Michelle