There are times when being in sync is essential. COVID-19 has forced that issue related to CDC (Centers for Disease) guidelines for dental practices.
The transition from solely providing emergency dentistry to reopening dental practices for routine care has prompted increased alignment between the CDC and the ADA (American Dental Association).
The CDC has recognized that non-emergency dental care is necessary going forward. And as states and municipalities lift their restrictions that opportunity has increased – an advantage to dental practices like yours.
Synchronizing care standards with CDC guidelines for dental practices
As you know, your dental practice has maintained a high level of infection control protocols – pandemic or not. Your due diligence is now another layer of protection as the ADA and CDC synchronize their .
”The CDC guidance iterates the ADA’s earlier recommendations by describing how dental professionals, building upon existing infection control measures, can help protect patients and the dental team when re-engaging in providing the full range of oral health care.” 
Beyond infection control, there’s also the need to extend those precautions to patient and staff interactions, appointment protocols, and routine functions including sterilization and disinfection during and after your daily schedule.
Current CDC guidelines alongside those of the ADA remain somewhat aligned with those issued early in the pandemic. The overall tone remains that extreme vigilance is necessary to maintain patient and staff safety for infection control.
For review, the following represent the fundamental recommended guidelines to follow as you reopen your dental practice:
- Staff and patients should remain home if ill
- Communicate with your patients before scheduled dental treatment
- Screen all patients for fever and COVID-19 symptoms regardless of available community spread data
- Post signage throughout your dental practice informing patients and staff about hand hygiene
- Provide a quality grade of hand sanitizer (60-95% alcohol), tissues, and touchless trash containers throughout your facilities
- Install clear shielding at reception areas
- Ensure that your dental unit water lines, autoclaves, and instrument cleaning equipment are up to date on maintenance. And review manufacturer instructions on equipment use following a period of non-use
- Treat one patient at a time
- Avoid the use of dental handpieces and air/water syringes
- Clinical personnel should consistently wear face masks and essential PPE
- Maintain your facility ventilation systems
- Be aware of necessary steps should a patient arrive with COVID-19 symptoms 
These baseline protocols provide guidance that can help assure the well-being and peace of mind for your patients and staff as you reopen and proceed with patient treatment in the months ahead.
Streamlining your practice management systems alongside the CDC guidelines for dental practices
Innovation rises to meet those challenges. And other innovative solutions previously used are gaining new momentum also.
”Traditional” waiting room or “virtual” room?
No doubt we crave face-to-face (physical) interaction for much of our accessed services. Even so, the emergence of online/digital options has added a level of convenience, comfort… and now safety to the mix.
The pandemic forced us into physical distancing. Some experiences that keep you six feet apart from another help minimize your contagion risk.
And yet other experiences – such as medical and dental appointments – place you in a different zone. Distance can be maintained and safety measures are in place, but with that distance still lurks the fear associated with viral infection.
Traditional waiting rooms have been altered to honor physical/social distancing and many prefer the personal connection it provides.
Virtual waiting rooms, on the other hand, add a layer of comfortability and convenience – while maintaining a new level of personal interaction.
As mentioned in a previous post, Clearwave is among the innovative providers of this technology. On the Denticon platform, we’re equally committed to developing related innovations to create a virtual space for delivering patient care.
And speaking of Denticon innovations… what about…
Tethered (Desktop) Appointment Management or Online (Cloud-based) Appointment Management?
Of course, patients can phone in their appointment. But at some point that appointment will perhaps require a personal visit to your dental practice.
Guidelines can be met via innovation that minimizes the number of patients in your facilities at the same time. And related time saving technologies can reduce the amount of time they actually spend on site prior to or following an appointment.
Denticon provides the following:
- Online appointment booking – a link is added to your dental practice website that gives your patients an option to schedule their appointment online. Patient convenience also helps maintain your front-office staff’s workflow.
- Online patient registration portal – eliminates reception/front desk crowding, promotes physical distancing, and provides a convenient, contactless, secure solution for gathering vital patient data.
- Curbside check-in – utilizes a dedicated text messaging application for on-the-spot patient check-in from the comfort and safety of their vehicle to minimize time inside your dental office.
- Patient portal – provides a streamlined solution for managing patient financial processes. Your patients can view their account, manage their balance, and make payments via an online platform or their smartphone/device.
CDC guidelines for dental practices have specific functions – patient health and safety. Yet, the innovations those guidelines are driving can add a new (and welcome) level of convenience to your dental services.
Denticon’s suite of contactless dental technology solutions includes the above mentioned Online Appointment Booking, Online Patient Registration, Curbside Check-In, and the Patient Portal. Each of these are perfectly aligned with the intentions of the CDC and ADA guidelines during the COVID-19 era of dentistry.