During this time, Perkins Dental is fully committed to keeping you informed and up-to-date regarding your safe care in our practice as the COVID-19 situation evolves.
We recognize the uncertainty this global health issue is creating and the decisions we are making heavily rely on the guidance received from the CDC and the Mississippi State Department of Health. We intend to protect the local Perkins Dental patient community.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has recommendations for dental office infection control. Our doctors and the team at Perkins Dental are always focused on your safety and work hard to prevent the spread of infection, which is why we have consistently practiced under the strict guidelines of “universal precautions” – assuming every patient is infected with the most aggressive disease possible – since our inception.
What does all of this mean on a day to day basis?
Before you enter the examining room, all surfaces, such as the dental chair, dental light, drawer handles, keyboard, mouse and countertops, have been meticulously cleaned and disinfected. Even pens, pencils or other such items are disinfected between patients.
Non-disposable items such as dental instruments are always cleaned and sterilized between patients and undergo a strict protocol, in sync with the rigid principles of universal precautions. Disposable dental instruments and needles are never reused. Infection control precautions also require all dental staff involved in patient care to use appropriate protective equipment such as gloves, masks, gowns, and eyewear when needed. After each patient, disposable gloves and masks are thrown away. Before seeing the next patient, everyone in the treatment team washes their hands and puts on a new pair of gloves. If they plan to leave the treatment room for any reason, they remove their gloves and dispose of them immediately within the room.
What about the new Coronavirus?
With so many news stories, it’s understandable to be concerned about the new coronavirus that causes COVID-19. Please know that the precautions our team already takes every day to prevent the spread of infection in our practice also help prevent the spread of COVID-19. However, to step up our game during these extremely challenging times we want to share our recently established guidelines.
- Patients who are ill and experiencing flu-like symptoms, respiratory illness & a cough or fever will be required to postpone visits and elective dental procedure visits. Such patients will be encouraged to seek medical attention.
- If a patient is experiencing a dental emergency, our Doctors will communicate with them over the phone to determine the nature of the emergency. If possible, they will be referred to a local medical facility. If, however, their need for in-office treatment is required and she feels capable of treating the emergency, our Doctors will make arrangements to see the patient during a time when other patients will not be present or affected in any way. Such patients will be provided Personal protective equipment (PPE) immediately upon arrival and placed in an isolated treatment room at once. PPE protocols for Doctor and employees will be practiced traditionally & worn at all times, according to our policy of universal precautions. All PPE worn by employees working with ill patients and PPE worn by patients who are ill will be carefully bagged and discarded in the biohazards waste receptacle, not in regular waste bins.
- As a part of our screening process, all patients will be screened by thermometer to detect early signs of viral infection. If a patient is experiencing fever or any other relative symptoms while here at the office, they are to be rescheduled for another time, at once. Symptoms and recommendations will be recorded in the patient’s chart and the patient will be advised to seek medical attention immediately.
- As an extra precaution, the office is continuously being disinfected throughout the day, and again will be disinfected at the end of each day. The closing employees will be responsible for, and is not limited to the following: spraying down reception room chairs with Lysol, wiping all access point door handles and all light switches, spraying/wiping down the bathroom and front desks, as well as the consultation room table and chairs.
- Hand sanitizer will be placed at the front desk. Employees will encourage patients to use the hand sanitizer and/or encourage adequate hand hygiene practices. All staff will accelerate the frequency and duration of hand washing techniques. If any employee suspects a patient of having the COVID-19 virus, the CDC mandates that we report such suspicion to our State Health Department. Teresa, our Office Manager, will be advised immediately.
In summary, if you are ill with flu-like symptoms, you should reschedule your appointment.
If you or someone you are in close contact with have recently traveled to one of the countries with large outbreaks of COVID-19 (China, Italy, Iran, South Korea) or if you have been exposed to someone else who was diagnosed with COVID-19 or who was quarantined as a precaution, wait 14 days until you come to Perkins Dental to make sure you have not caught the coronavirus.
If you are healthy, there’s no reason to cancel your regularly scheduled dental appointment.
It’s important to know that the majority of people infected with the coronavirus experience flu-like symptoms and then recover. Most people do not develop serious respiratory complications.
Those most at risk of becoming seriously ill are elderly people and those with underlying medical conditions such as diabetes and kidney disease, among others. Children, thus far, have been largely unaffected.
Here are a few things that you may already be aware of that you can do on your own to help keep yourself and those around you healthy:
- Wash your hands frequently, or use a hand sanitizer with at least 60% ethyl alcohol.
- Avoid touching your face, eyes or nose to reduce the spread of germs.
- Cover your cough with a fabric or sneeze into your elbow. Infections like the coronavirus spread through the tiny droplets in coughs and sneezes.
- Stay home if you feel sick. If you have flu-like symptoms or otherwise feel unwell, stay home and rest.