Dear Signature Orthodontics Family,
We are beyond ready to get back to work and see everyone that we have missed so much! We hope this letter finds everyone healthy, happy, and prepared to ease back into regular routines. Much has changed since we saw you last. We are all still coming to grips with the COVID-19 pandemic and events triggered by it. It feels like everyone on the planet has been affected by COVID-19. We want to update you on our office, it's measured re-opening, and the steps we are taking to ensure we do everything possible to keep our patients, our team, and our community safe and healthy.
While our office has been closed, our doctors and entire team have been busy meeting every weekday morning via Zoom huddles (and yes even the occasional evening ‘Zoom party and yoga/exercise class). We have grown even closer, although physically apart, working diligently to be even stronger than we were before. Our team has been reaching out to many of you virtually, trying to assist in your ongoing braces or Invisalign treatment, or perhaps just getting you ready to start your orthodontic journey at Signature. Our three doctors are also involved in committees that have been drafting back to work recommendations, guidelines and ‘best practices’ for a national group of Orthodontists they work collaboratively with. The wealth of information is continually changing, and our doctors and team are as up to date as possible.
To that end, we will be reopening in a Phased approach starting on Monday May 11th. We will be following rigorous scheduling protocols and office measures to ensure the safety and well-being of you, our patients, and our team and by extension, our community.
We ask for your patience. We had to cancel over 1500 appointments, and we know that there is a strong desire to get your treatment back on track as soon as possible. We will eventually, but it will not be as efficient as we are used to in our office. This benefits everyone. We will have to be very firm in our processes and procedures. They have been well-thought-out and reviewed countless times by our doctors and our entire team.
We have already begun rescheduling patients on a first-canceled-first-rescheduled basis, which is fair, efficient, and will serve everyone with getting back on track. The exception to this would be emergency care as this will be prioritized. Our office procedures have temporarily changed and will include the following:
- There will be a limit on the number of staff and patients that we can have in the office at any one time to roughly half of the regular appointment load during this Phased re-opening. The points outlined a little further on will lend clarity to this decision.
- Please wait for our office to call you to reschedule your appointments. We have a very accurate and comprehensive list of every appointment canceled, including the day and time.
- All observation/growth guidance appointments are paused until further notice. We will reach out to reschedule these appointments when we are ready to return to our regular routine.
- We have launched a virtual care portal. This opportunity will be available for new patients to our office to be able to provide more timely screening assessments. If you have friends or family in need of a new patient assessment, you can refer them to our website (www.signatureorthodontics.com). Have them look in the bottom right corner for the blue button to start the assessment process. If you are a current patient and experiencing discomfort please contact our office directly for assistance, (780-456-1511) or (email@example.com).
- Emergencies will continue only to be defined by pain or bleeding. For now, broken brackets and ill-fitting aligner trays do not constitute an emergency. However please call us with any emergency or urgent needs and we will do our best to triage these concerns.
- When you arrive for your appointment, please stay in your car. The front door will remain locked. Please call or text our office upon your arrival, and a Patient Wellness Coordinator will greet you at the door.
- Only the patient that is being treated will be allowed to enter the office. The only exception for this will be for our very young patients. Of those, only one parent/caregiver may accompany the patient. Absolutely no other family members or friends will be allowed inside.
- Please bring your own mask and wear it to your appointment. Provincial health guidelines for social distancing and wearing masks in businesses continue, so bring the mask you have been using. If you do not have your own, we will provide one; however please keep in mind that personal protective equipment supplies are in high demand and we do not wish to risk running out and having to close until the supply-chain is back to normal.
- Your temperature will be taken by our staff using a touchless thermometer. If your temperature is over 100 degrees Fahrenheit (or 37.7 Celsius), you will be asked to leave and not return for the specified 14-day self-quarantine requirement.
- A simple questionnaire assessing your contacts, travel, and well-being will be asked of all patients as well. Any question indicating recent exposure to someone with COVID-19 or having signs and symptoms of the same will be asked to leave, and not return for the specified 14-day self-quarantine requirement.
- Please maintain the 6-foot social distancing guidelines when in the office until seated in the treatment chair.
- Our tooth-brushing station will be used as a handwashing/sanitizing station and this is required of every patient before being seated. No tooth-brushing, only handwashing.
- Our patient washrooms will be closed (except for emergencies!), so please prepare for that before arrival.
- Patients will rinse with a 1.5% hydrogen peroxide mouth rinse at a cup at the chair. Rinse 30 seconds and then spit back into the cup where an assistant will suction it.
- While our dental chairs are over the required 6 ft distancing required, in the Phased reopening, we will still be seating patients in every-other-chair in the office to maintain social distancing, which is one of the reasons for the reduced patient volume that we can accommodate.
- We ask for understanding while we will try to address all your treatment needs during your visit. Individuals with multiple broken brackets may not have everything completed during this visit due to strict scheduling times.
- WE LOVE OUR PATIENTS! We also love to chat with you at your appointment. Please understand that conversations will at times be significantly reduced to allow for social distancing, running on time, disinfection of treatment chairs and instruments, etc.
- We will not be providing our usual coffee and tea station while in this re-entry to normalcy time.
- We will take the temperatures of every team member, including our doctors, immediately upon arrival at work, and after lunch. Any team member at 100 F (37.7 C) or above will go home.
- Every team member will answer the health questionnaire that our patients are required to answer, and will do so every day. If any questions disqualify the team member, they will be sent home following the same procedures we are asking our patients to follow.
- You will find upon arrival that we have made changes to our reception area seating to ensure the health and well-being of our patients and our team. We ask that you please follow these changes if you find yourself seated in the reception area.
We are so grateful for every one of our patients, and this time away has only served to make us even more thankful for each of you. You are the life-force of our practice, and therefore we are taking your safety VERY seriously. We would ask for your patience and understanding. Expect that your treatment progress has been delayed, as has your estimated completion time. We wish that were not the case, but it is. Please forgive us as we are focusing on getting each of you back on track while not exposing our team members or patients to unnecessary risk. We are all in this together!
If you have any questions, please feel free to call our office (780-456-1511) or email (firstname.lastname@example.org) directly. Please also follow us on Facebook and Instagram for additional resources and information and our websitehttps://www.signatureorthodontics.com/ continues to be a wealth of information on ‘how to’ tips/tricks to best manage common orthodontic emergencies under the ‘Additional Information’ tab.
We love all of you; here's to your health and smile!
Dr. Russett, McKee, Bharwani and the entire Signature Orthodontics Team