Thank you for visiting our COVID-19 FAQ page. This is an informational resource for all existing, previous and potential new patients to see what steps we are taking to provide a safe environment for your dental care. We will be adopting the guidelines set out by the ADA (American Dental Association), CDC (Center for Disease Control) and OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) and integrating them into our daily practice, as well as going above and beyond to reduce the risk of any potential exposure. Things have definitely changed and our office welcomes any feedback, as we are always committed to making any necessary protocol changes and investment in our patients' health and safety, now and always. If there are ever any questions that are not answered here, please let us know. This page will be updated regularly as the guidelines may change or be modified as we learn more. Your patience is greatly appreciated as we continue to try and understand how we can provide an amazing dental experience when you visit our office.
Q: What kinds of changes can I expect when I go back into the office?
A: There are several changes before, during, and after your appointment that will be implemented and over time in an effort to go above and beyond best practices and provide a safe place for patients to have their dental care. It will be a new normal for all of us with the common goal of keeping everyone that comes through our office as safe or safer than they would be in any other place. These changes will be in effect starting June 1, 2020, and will continually evolve as we get more information from the ADA, CDC, SOHA and San Mateo Public Health guidelines and feedback from our patients.
Q: Why are these changes being made?
A: Due to the different routes of transmission, we need to make sure we take every precaution to keep our community and our staff safe. Currently there is insufficient testing and potentially many more asymptomatic carriers of the virus. We will continue to be hyper vigilant to reduce the risk of spreading the virus in our community.
Q: Do you currently have any testing for COVID-19?
A: We currently do not offer testing. This is something we are looking into and once better understood in regards to sensitivity, accuracy, reliability and availability, we will certainly follow any guidelines from federal, state, local authorities to provide guidance on any necessary testing.
Q: What kinds of changes can I expect regarding office communication?
A: Currently, we will correspond with patients primarily via phone, e-mail, text for appointment scheduling, reminders and even teledentistry. We would like to minimize the number of visits to the office as well as streamline processes for patients so they are able to get the care they need more efficiently and safer as well. We would like to be able to collect any and all changes to personal information and insurance information prior to your appointment as well.
Q: What key upgrades have been implemented at your office to help keep patients safe?
A: We have researched and significantly invested in enhanced safety equipment, including the following:
- Medical Grade Air Filtration:
We have invested in two additional air purification systems and placed them in each operatory and throughout the office. One system has a true HEPA filter that filters 99.97% of airborne particles up to 0.3 microns and a UV-C bulb that kills 99.9% of viruses, bacteria and mold. The other system has HEPA 13 filters which are medical grade filters that can filter particles down to 0.1 microns. In conjunction with our existing efficient HVAC system, our new in-office air purifiers will turn and purify the air approximately every 2-3 minutes to help keep you safe during your visit.
- Hypochlorous Acid (HOCI) Fogger:
We will be disinfecting the air by “fogging” it with this non-toxic, colorless, tasteless, safe and naturally occuring oxidant that is 100Xs more effective than bleach. This potent disinfectant is on the EPA list for disinfection against such pathogens as tuberculosis, HIV, as well as SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19 and is widely used in the medical field, in water sanitation, as well as in the food industry.
- Purevac High Vacuum Evacuation and Mirror Tip:
While most of our cleanings will initially be done without ultrasonic scaling to prevent and reduce additional splatter or aerosolization, if and when we do return to selective use of ultrasonic scaling, we have invested in the Purevac HVE system which provides a 90% reduction in aerosols.
- Extraoral Evacuation Aerosol Suction System:
This additional extraoral suction will capture any additional aerosols around the oral cavity and has a 4-layer filtration system including HEPA 14 filter, carbon filters as well as bactericidal and virucidal UV-C bulbs.
Before Your Appointment:
In order to reduce your time in the office and streamline the check in and checkout process, we will be rolling out a new communication tool which will help us better communicate with you via phone, e-mail, text and even teledentistry. We will attempt to collect all new patient forms, updated medical histories, insurance information, manage questions about treatment plans or financial arrangements prior to your appointment remotely through these enhanced communication tools.
- Screening Questionnaire and Medical History Update:
Our office will communicate with you within a week before your appointment to ask required COVID-19 screening questions. We will either contact you via email or text with a link to the questionnaire or by phone if we have not heard from you. If you have any signs or symptoms of illness, you may be asked to reschedule your appointment until you have been symptom-free for 2 weeks or tested negative for COVID-19 after the onset of symptoms, so as to not be a risk to the staff or others that come through the office. You will be asked these same pre-appointment screening questions again the day of your appointment.
Arrival and Check-In Process:
- Please Arrive 5 Minutes Early to Your Appointment for Patient Screening:
On the day of your appointment, you should receive a courtesy text reminder from our office that includes the pre-screening questions for you to complete again. When you arrive at our office, please reply to the reminder text OR call our office at 650-474-0551 to let us know you’ve arrived. One of our team members will review the screening responses and then meet you curbside to continue the screening process. If you need assistance with the screening questions, text or call our office and a team member will meet you curbside to help.
We will be taking your temperature with a contactless thermometer. If you have a temperature over 100.4 F, we will have you reschedule your appointment and contact your physician for further evaluation. All Advanced Dentistry employees will also have daily temperature checks as well.
- Masks Required for Entry:
Masks must be worn by all persons for the entire visit, and should be put on before you exit your car. If you forgot to bring your own mask, we are happy to provide a new disposable one for you to wear before entering the office. We will have you remove your mask for your procedure only and remind you to put your mask back on at the conclusion of your appointment.
- No Companions Allowed Except for Minors and Elderly:
This will help limit the number of people in the office making it easier to create safe distances between patients and staff.
Our staff will guide you through some steps from hand sanitizing and where to put personal items to help protect our staff and other patients inside the office. You will be asked to “pre-rinse” with 1.0% hydrogen peroxide to remove any virus or bacteria in the mouth upon being seated in the dental chair. There will be hand sanitizer in the reception area and other places in the office for you to use as needed.
Our staff will be using the best PPE that fits the procedure. We may be wearing hair coverings, face shields, N95 respirators, surgical masks, additional gowns and foot coverings in addition to all of our normal PPE. You might not recognize us beneath all of our gear, but rest assured we are still the same people underneath all the layers.
- Disinfection and Sterilization:
We have always been on top of the latest innovations in Infection Control products that we can use. In addition to our existing protocol, we are adding additional time to disinfect additional surfaces in the operatories in between patients.
We will try to do most of our scheduling and follow ups online, phone or text to minimize the time spent at our practice for safety considerations.
Our staff will send you a statement online via email or text at the conclusion of your appointment. Some co-pays or payments may be collected prior to your visit. Our staff is also happy to answer questions related to financing options for treatment at your convenience.