Patient Guide to Coronavirus at Calcaterra Family Dentistry

Coronavirus at the dentist

Covid-19 has changed dentistry – learn about what to expect at our office in Orange.

As a modern dental office in Orange, we’ve compiled this page for existing and new patients to learn about the numerous precautions we are taking with respect to the Coronavirus (a.k.a. Covid-19 or SARS-CoV2). Our goal is to provide dentistry in a manner that nearly eliminates the possibility of the Coronavirus being transmitted while in the office.

As you can imagine, we are constantly modifying and refining our protocols based on information and recommendations from the CDC, American Dental Association, OSHA, and Connecticut Department of Health.

We have elected to break this page down into three separate sections. The first is a video in which Dr. Nick Calcaterra talks about infection control and the many measures we are taking to prevent the spread of Covid-19 in our office. The second section breaks down what to expect at every phase of your appointment, from the initial phone call to leaving the office. The third section talks about what our staff are doing.

Infection Control and Covid-19

We believe this is an important video to reassure you that going to the dentist is safe. Dr. Nick Calcaterra talks about infection control and universal precautions as well as the extra steps we are doing in light of Covid-19.

The video could easily have been over one hour in length if we detailed everything we do in terms of infection control.

The next portion is Section 2 – what to expect at every phase of your dental visit.

Before Your Dental Visit

  1. By phone, we remind all our patients to self monitor for coronavirus symptoms (fever, cough, shortness of breath, etc.). If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, you should contact your physician and we will re-schedule your appointment. We will repeat these screening questions upon your arrivatl.
  2. For new patients, we ask that you complete the paperwork at home, so that you do not spend extra time in our reception area completing the forms.
  3. We ask that you do not bring any companions with you to your visit. In the case of pediatric patients or large families with multiple appointments or elderly patients needing assistance, we will discuss this with you in advance by phone. Generally speaking, additional family members will need to wait in the care or accompany you into the treatment room.
  4. We will review with you by phone if you wish to wait in your car and be called when we are ready to see you. If you want this, we ask you to arrive 10 minutes early and have your phone handy.
Dentist Reception area designed for social distancing

We’ve redesigned our reception area to allow for social distancing, although you will spend little to no time waiting there. We have a medical grade air purifier running along with virus killing natural sunlight at all times.

 

Arriving For Your Dental Visit

medical grade air purifier in dental reception area.

Medical Grade Air Purifier in our Reception area.

  1. If you’ve requested that you wait in your car to be called when we are ready, we will call you.
  2. We require that all patients – except very young children – wear a mask as they enter our office.
  3. Upon entering the office, we ask that you use our medical grade hand sanitizer.
  4. You may notice our medical grade air purifier which can remove particles as small as .1 micron. Note that the Covid-19 virus itself is .125 microns in diameter and aerosol particles that contain the virus are typically even larger. The use of these purifiers greatly reduces the possibility of any viral particles circulating in the air. We have a total of 9 air purifiers strategically placed throughout the office.
  5. We have arranged our seating in our reception area so that patients can sit and wait and maintain proper social distancing – although our goal is to have you spend as little time as possible in our reception area.
  6. When you are ready, a staff member will come out and take your forehead temperature and ask screening questions. Upon completing those, you will be brought back to your treatment room.
  7. We have removed all magazines, pamphlets, toys, etc. from the reception area so there is no risk of touching items that have been recently touched by others.

Receiving Dental Care

It is worth noting that we have spent decades doing dentistry – cleanings, crowns, extractions, root canals, etc. – all while preventing the patient to patient transmission of horrible infectious disease such as TB, HIV/AIDs, Hepatitis B, etc. Every clinical team member is an expert in the prevention of transmission of infectious diseases!

  1. As we have been doing for years, every instrument that enters your mouth is either sterilized or single use only.
  2. Our five treatment rooms have nearly airtight partitions separating them – so the risk of a patient in the room next door transmitting anything to you is nearly impossible.
  3. Each treatment room has a dedicate medical grade air purifier that removes any airborne pathogens.
  4. All of our treatment rooms and reception area have windows with plenty of natural light. There is significant evidence that sunlight kills Covid-19.
  5. We are requiring all patients to do a 30 second rinse of 1.5% hydrogen peroxide – which may reduce the likelihood of viral transmission (assuming you have Covid-19 but are not yet symptomatic). We also combine this with a mouthwash.
  6. Depending upon the procedure being performed, we have various protocols and devices – a rubber dam, isolite, high speed evacuation – available to minimize the production and distribution of aerosols. This includes our dental hygienists who don’t routinely use these devices for cleanings.
Dental treatment room with closed walls and sunlight to prevent Covid-19 coronavirus

Our treatment rooms have near airtight partitions between them along with plenty of natural virus-killing sunlight.

Completing Dental Treatment and Leaving the Office

  1. Upon completing your dental treatment, we turn on a powerful continuous suction in the room designed to remove any airborne or aerosol particles that may be present. This suction remains on while we use disinfect the room.
  2. We make every effort to make future appointments in the treatment room – to avoid time spent in the reception area.
  3. For patients needing to discuss items with the administrative team, we have partitions and protocols allowing you to maintain social distance nearly the entire time.
  4. We then thoroughly disinfect the room using medical grade disinfectants, discard single use items, and sterilize re-usable instruments.
Midmark autoclaves kill Covid-19/coronavirus as well as anything else at the dentist.

Our Midmark autoclaves – considered the gold standard for dental instrument sterilization – and used in major hospitals – ensure everything that goes into your mouth is free of germs. No virus can survive the intense heat and pressure of every cycle.

What Our Dental Staff Are Doing

It is worth mentioning that even before Covid-19, our clinical staff members adhered to universal precautions. But in light of the new information on the coronavirus, we are taking extra precautions.

  1. Every staff member is self monitoring for Covid-19 symptoms as well as their families. All of them have adhered to Governor Lamont’s orders and have been maintaining social distancing since mid March.
  2. Upon arrival at the office every day, each staff member takes his/her temperature.
  3. We are using standard personal protection equipment (PPE) which includes: Level III face masks and/or N95 and/or KN95 masks, surgical gowns, non-latex gloves, eye protection, and face shields when appropriate.

Coronavirus and Dental Care

It is clear to everyone that dentistry has changed due to Covid-19. While we are hopeful that a vaccine is ultimately developed, we as an office are committed to taking whatever precautions are needed to ensure every patient has a safe visit. We thought we would end with this fact:

We are pleased to report that as of August 31st, 2020, we have no record of any staff member or a member of that staff’s family who has tested positive for Covid-19. In addition, we have no record of any patient who has tested positive who was seen in the office directly before/during/after the infection. 

Questions? Call us at (203) 799 – 2929 or visit this page to request an appointment.

We are open for all types of dental care.

We are currently open for all types of dental care. You can call us (203) 799 - 2929 to make or reschedule an appointment. New patients continue to be welcome. As always, our office exceeds the requirements recommended by the CDC, OSHA, and CT Dept of Public Health.