We are so happy to welcome patients back to Los Gatos Family Dentistry! After months away, you may wonder if it is safe to return to the dental office in the time of COVID-19. We want to reassure you that our patient’s safety has always been our number one priority and that our dental office cleanliness and sanitation have always exceeded the required standards to prevent the spread of any illness.
At Los Gatos Family Dentistry, we strictly adhere to the sanitation and infection control guidelines put forth by the American Dental Association and OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration), the California Department of Public Health, and the California Dental Association. Our infection control procedures exceed CDC guidelines. The additional COVID-19 infection protocols and measures we have now put in place will further improve the safety of our patients and our staff.
We Look Forward to Seeing You Again!
We look forward to welcoming you back and scheduling an appointment for you soon. If you’re apprehensive because of COVID-19, we hope you’ll consider that there are numerous benefits associated with choosing a small dental practice like Los Gatos Dentistry.
With a smaller staff size, we see fewer patients on any given day than a larger dental practice. The fact that we are closed on Wednesdays and Fridays also means that on the days we are open, our office will have been closed the days prior, further minimizing your risk of exposure.
While things will look and feel different for now, our commitment to quality dentistry and patient care has not changed. Please follow the links below to review updated COVID-19 information and what to expect at your next appointment.
- Our Standard Infection Control Practices
- What Changes to Expect at Your Next Appointment
- We Offer Teledentistry Appointments
- COVID-19 Infection Protocols
- COVID-19 Infection Control Equipment
Our Standard Infection Control Practices
The following are the standard infection control practices that we have adhered to since day one:
- Staff must wash hands between each patient for at least 20 seconds with soap and water.
- Common areas are frequently wiped down using a professional-grade disinfectant. These include doorknobs, pens, countertops, light switches, children’s toys, patient forms, chairs, and workstations.
- A hospital-grade disinfectant and deodorizer are used to sanitize the air and disinfect soft surfaces throughout the day to kill viruses, bacteria, and mold.
- Hand sanitizers are available throughout the office. Please use them upon arrival.
- Our restroom is monitored and cleaned several times a day. Floors are cleaned regularly as well as commonly touched surfaces.
- Barriers are used in the operatories on non-critical surfaces and all surfaces are wiped down with a professional-grade disinfectant after each patient. The brand we use is the fastest cleaner on the market with a low EPA toxicity rating. Such viruses as Noro, HIV, Hepatitis, RSV, Influenza, etc. are killed in 30 seconds on contact.
- Dental units and waterlines are purged and disinfected before seeing patients in the morning, after each patient, and at the end of each day. Water used during dental procedures is treated with an antimicrobial “shock” treatment before use.
- High volume evacuation (HVE) is used during dental procedures to minimize aerosols.
- Instruments are sterilized under steam and pressure to over 270 degrees F. Spore testing is performed weekly by an independent lab to ensure our sterilization equipment is working properly. We go one step further by performing daily chemical tests of our equipment.
- Daily and weekly maintenance are performed on our autoclave equipment. Annual maintenance is performed by a professional service.
- Staff uses personal protective equipment on each patient and ASTM Level 3 and N95 rates masks. They are trained to follow strict infection control guidelines and receive annual infection control training and review.
- Our policy to avoid “double booking” and given that we are not a high-volume practice allows us to minimize the number of patients in the office throughout the day.
What Changes to Expect at Your Next Appointment
In an effort to keep our patients and staff healthy, we ask that anyone not feeling well to please stay home. Our team will be happy to reschedule your appointment for a later date. We will not charge a late cancellation fee due to illness. Thank you for your cooperation.
Before your appointment
- We will email patient forms before your appointment. Please complete and email them back to us. This will streamline the check-in process with less need to interact at the reception area. Of course, if you are unable to do so in advance, the forms will be available in the office, and all commonly touched items and surfaces will be disinfected after each patient.
- We will be contacting you with COVID-19 screening questions before your visit and when you arrive. You can find the list of questions we will ask here on our forms page. Depending on your responses, we may need to reschedule.
When you arrive for your appointment
- Please call or text us to notify us of your arrival, but we ask that you wait in our virtual waiting room (aka your car) until we are ready for you. You will be taken straight to your treatment room.
- Your temperature will be taken at the door, and patients with a temperature above 100.4 F will be rescheduled.
- With the exception of children under age 2, please arrive wearing a face covering. You may remove it for your treatment only.
- A patient may have one parent or caregiver present if needed. Additional guests must wait outside the office.
- Your appointment time may be adjusted to allow more time for disinfection between patients and to prevent contact between patients during check-in/checkout. Thank you for your understanding.
- If you are a patient in a high-risk group, we will be offering special appointment times to minimize your risk further. Please contact our office for more information.
We Offer Teledentistry Appointments
For patients who are not ready to reschedule, but have a dental concern, please know that we are offering teledentistry services, covered by most insurances. You may schedule a phone or video call and receive professional advice without leaving your home. Please contact the office to learn more about this convenient new feature.
COVID-19 Infection Protocols
In addition to our standard sanitation and sterilization protocols, we have expanded COVID-19 infection protocols now in place.
We will continue our usual rigorous process of sterilization, maintenance, and testing of instruments and equipment and are implementing new COVID-19 protocols as follows:
- Treatment rooms and common areas will be thoroughly disinfected with medical-grade disinfectant known to be effective against SARS-CoV-2, the cause of COVID-19.
- A hospital-grade air sanitizer will be used between patients. Commonly touched items such as pens, forms, workstations, door handles, light switches, and waiting areas will be disinfected after each use. The bathroom will be disinfected regularly.
- We will be deliberately operating at reduced capacity to minimize the number of patients in the office.
- We rotate between treatment rooms so they are not used for back-to-back appointments.
- Plexiglass shields have been installed in the reception area. Magazines and toys have been removed.
- Patients will have contact with the minimum number of staff required for their treatment.
- All patients will be given a pre-treatment hydrogen peroxide rinse.
- Treatment rooms are cleaned twice. First, the air and surfaces are disinfected with a cold fogger. Then, then the room is cleaned with a medical grade disinfectant.
- Aerosol mitigation equipment and techniques, high evacuation suction, along with a rubber dam may be used during ultrasonic cleaning and restorative procedures.
- Several medical-grade air purifiers using PCO technology that inactivate viruses in the air and on surfaces, along with upgraded air filters for the HVAC system, have been installed.
Our staff will be screened and receive temperature checks several times a day. They will wear full PPE, including N95 masks, face shields, gowns, and gloves during their interaction with patients in the treatment rooms. They have received updated infection control training and simulated training exercises in the office prior to reopening. Staff will not be permitted to work if they are sick.