In early March, based upon recommendations from our local and national professional associations and to be in compliance with the Illinois Department of Public Health directive, we postponed all routine dental care. We were happy to participate in this initiative in order to protect our patients, our staff, and the community.
For the past 2 months, our office remained available to provide urgent care. Effective May 11, the IDPH allowed dental offices to resume providing routine and elective care, while following prescribed safety guidelines.
As you have gotten to know Dr. Bob Dokhanchi over the years, you have no doubt noticed his obsession with incorporating the best and latest technology. He is equally thorough, conscientious, and committed to the safety of his patients and staff. In order to fully prepare to provide dental care in the safest possible manner and in the healthiest possible environment, we decided to delay our re-opening until June 1, 2020 to be sure all of our health and safety systems are in place. (This excludes urgent emergency care)
So what have we done in the last two and a half months? We have implemented some physical and some procedural changes to keep you and our staff safe.
1- CENTRAL HVAC Air Purification Systems:
Our office has two heating and air conditioning units, one for the clinical /patient care area and the other for our non-clinical area. A REME HALO unit by RGF Environmental Group was professionally installed in each of the HVAC units.
The award winning REME HALO whole building in-duct air purifier is the next generation of indoor air quality technology that is capable of purifying every cubic inch of air that the central air conditioning system reaches.
It is designed to eliminate sick building syndrome risks by reducing air pollutants.
It is effective against all three categories of indoor air pollutants: Particulates, Microbial, and Gases.
Although no product has been directly tested on the COVID-19 virus, REME HALO has been thoroughly tested and deemed effective on similar viruses, bacteria, pollen, mold spores, dander and dust, both airborne and on the surface. SARS, MRSA, e-coli, and Norwalk; are just a few of the many organisms that can be eliminated with this technology.
REME HALO is used by the US military for mold reduction, the Chinese government to fight SARS, and hospitals to fight MRSA. It is approved by the USDA and the FDA to be used in food processing plants to reduce contamination. It is used in cruise ships to fight virus outbreaks. And, now it is being used nationally in doctor’s offices, restaurants, gyms, hotels, and other public places to improve air quality and reduce microbial pollutants.
2- Point of Care Medical Grade Air Purifiers:
Each treatment room, sterilization center, and staff room is now equipped with a true HEPA 13 medical grade air purifier that can refresh the air in less than 15 minutes. We also have added two larger units for the front desk and hallway areas.
The medical-grade HEPA H13 filter removes 99.97% of particles down to 0.1 microns as well as PM2.5 particles such as smoke, pollen, dust mites, and mold spores. COVID-19 virus is estimated to be 0.125 microns which can be removed by these Air Purifiers.
3- Enhanced Surface Disinfection with Hypochlorous Acid (HOCl)
Although we have always disinfected all surfaces by the strictest standards and have heat sterilized or used disposable products, we have decided to incorporate “fogging” methods with Hypochlorous Acid or HOCl.
HOCl is a weak acid similar to that of a mild citrus juice. lt is made naturally by white blood cells in all mammals for healing and protection.
HOCl is a powerful oxidant that is effective against invading bacteria, fungi, and viruses. HOCl is now used in healthcare, food safety, water treatment, and general sanitation.
Each treatment area will be “fogged” with HOCl after each patient encounter. The entire office will be treated at the end of each day. This will also help with the disinfection of any airborne microorganisms and aerosols.
4- We are using new equipment to control aerosols. These are external suction units, Intra-oral suction units, and rubber dams to isolate the field of work and limit aerosol dispersion.
5- Each treatment room had two entrances. These entrances are now enclosed by curtains to reduce the risk of aerosol being spread throughout the office.
6- We have contracted with Aramark to provide us with scrub and gown laundry service. Gowns will be changed after each patient. To protect our employees, we have always provided the proper PPEs and we will continue to do so.
• In order to maintain physical distancing and minimize cross contamination, patients will no longer wait in our reception area. We have removed items that may be potentially touched by multiple individuals; unfortunately this means magazines will no longer be provided and coffee and water will no longer be available. You will see a big sign outside, asking you to stay in your car and to call us. A staff member will come out and bring you into the office. Think of your car as our new waiting room.
• We will reach out to you before your appointment to complete a COVID-19 screening questionnaire. We will re-screen all patients with the same questionnaire when you arrive.
• Once inside, your temperature is taken with our touch-less thermometer. If you don’t have a fever, you’re taken directly to our treatment rooms. You will have some paperwork that will be filled out in the treatment room.
• It is recommended that each dental treatment room be left empty for 15 minutes after each use. Out of an abundance of caution, we have increased that time to 30 minutes.
We have done all of this to make sure you not only feel safe and comfortable, but also to do our part in fighting this global pandemic. We hope to see you soon.
Please help us for a safer experience:
• If you have a fever, cough, or just don’t feel well, please call us to reschedule your appointment.
• For your safety, please wear a mask when you enter the dental office.
• If you have brought a driver with you or a friend or family member along, that individual will need to remain in the car.
• Unless they also have an appointment, please do not bring children to your appointment as there is no waiting area. They would need to remain in the car with an adult.
• Please do not bring beverages or food into the office.
• If you have questions, please don’t hesitate to ask us.
• We can’t thank you enough for your support and look forward to seeing you.