Thompson Dentistry Reopening
Thursday, May 14, 2020
We hope this letter finds you and your family in good health. Our community has been through a lot over the last few months, and all of us are looking forward to resuming our normal habits and routines. While many things have changed, one thing has remained the same: our commitment to your safety. As we prepare to reopen the office next week on 5/20/20, this letter is to inform you of what to expect both before and during your dental visit with us, as well as some logistics on scheduling.
Infection control has always been a top priority for our practice. Our infection control processes are made so that when you receive care, it’s both safe and comfortable. Our office follows infection control recommendations made by the American Dental Association (ADA), the Texas Dental Association (TDA), the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). In addition to these recommendations, Dr. Thompson is adding even more protective measures to help keep you and the staff safe. For example, our office will be disinfected hourly, air sanitizers have been installed in every treatment room, and Dr. Thompson is working on installing additional overhead suctions to capture aerosols during procedures.
Here are some changes to expect when it is time for your next appointment as well as some other ways we are keeping you safe. These changes were made for your protection:
-Before scheduling your appointment, there is a required online COVID-19 Patient Acknowledgment and Pre-Screening Form consisting of a few questions. This can be found on our secure website here (we anticipate this form will be available no later than Saturday 5/16/20). When you fill it out online, it will go directly into our system.
-Over the phone and when you are in the office, you’ll be asked those same questions again verbally, so get ready for some redundancy! These Covid-19 screening questions are required and meant to keep you safe, so please bear with us, and also please be aware that your symptoms can change day to day, therefore changing your response.
-Please wait in your car or outside until we call or text you for your appointment to avoid multiple people in the waiting room. Make sure we have the best phone number to reach you at the time of your appointment. If you don’t hear from us at your scheduled appointment time, please call us so we can give you a time estimate.
-Please limit extra companions on your trip to our office to only essential people in order to reduce the number of people in the reception area and treatment rooms. We suggest that other children/siblings and babies (other than the patient) not accompany you during your appointment at this time.
-It’s your same friendly Thompson Dentistry team, except you won’t be able to recognize us through all our protective gear! We will be wearing full “Personal Protective Equipment” (PPE) including special masks, gowns, face shields, head covers, and shoe covers. The more we are protected, the more you are protected and for the time being, we will not be removing our masks, so we will have to get used to our new normal of talking through them. Because PPE is hard to come by and expensive right now with such high demand, there will be a $10 PPE charge per visit.
-When you arrive at the office, you will be prompted to use hand sanitizer. There are also some in each operatory and other places in the office, so help yourself!
-We will be taking your temperature with a non-touch forehead thermometer.
-Please keep your face covering/mask on as you both enter and exit the office/treatment rooms. (We will ask that you put your face covering on if you need to use the restroom for example).
-We will ask you to do two 30 second pre-treatment mouth rinses with Listerine in the operatory before your cleaning or dental procedure.
-For the time being, cleanings will be done in more of a fashion that reduces water spray and aerosols, which means we will hold off on the use of the ultrasonic scaler (the tool that sprays water and cleans your teeth).
-In addition to our routine sterilization after every patient, our office will be disinfected every hour and air sanitizers have been placed in every treatment room. Our employees are screened twice a day for temperature and symptoms.
-Appointments will also be managed to allow for social distancing between patients. That might mean that you’re offered fewer options for scheduling your appointment. *Patients over 60 and those with significant underlying medical conditions will be scheduled with extra accommodations. Please alert us if you fall into this category when we schedule your appointment.
-We are attempting to be as “contact free” as possible. We encourage any filling out of paperwork online on our website. If we do need you to sign something, we will offer you a tissue to use to hold the pen for example, or provide a protective covering that will be discarded afterward. If paying by credit card, it would be helpful to show the front desk person your credit card instead of handing it to them to avoid contact.
-If you need to cancel your appointment due to illness, we are waiving our last-minute cancellation fee policies at this time.
We look forward to seeing you again and are happy to answer any questions you may have about the steps we take to keep you, and every patient, safe in our practice. Anna will be in the office on Monday 5/18 to begin confirming existing patient appointments as well as call patients that were previously scheduled during the time of the temporary closure. She will also be calling patients that are in temporary restorations and those who spoke to Dr. Thompson with an emergency during the closure.
Our first day of seeing patients is 5/20/20, with priority to those with emergencies and temporaries. To schedule an appointment, Anna can take your call beginning on Monday 5/18/20 or you can visit our website.
Thank you for being our patient. We value your trust and loyalty and look forward to welcoming back our patients, neighbors and friends.
-The Thompson Dentistry Team-
Thompson Dentistry Update
Tuesday, April 28, 2020
As you probably have heard, on Monday 4/27/20 Governor Abbott announced a 2 phase re-opening strategy for Texas during the Covid-19 pandemic. Phase 1 of the plan begins on May 1st, which allows retail stores, restaurants, movie theaters, and certain businesses to re-open (if they want to) at 25% capacity. Governor Abbott said that Phase 2 would begin on May 18th depending on the spread of the virus after Phase 1.
Governor Abbott said that salons, gyms, and bars are “not deemed to be safe just yet” and are to remain closed.
It is important for you to know that the field of dentistry is unique in that we are in very close contact with our patients, even more so than salons, and even more than most healthcare professionals. With dental procedures and cleanings, there is water mixed with saliva sprayed into the air called “aerosols”. These aerosols can potentially carry airborne viruses, just like a cough or a sneeze. We have always known about aerosols, and Dr. Thompson has always implemented the strictest of infection control practices and procedures to protect you the patient. Dr. Thompson is implementing even more procedures to help keep you safe as we learn more about the Covid-19 virus and we will send a separate email of those protocols and how they relate to scheduling and what to expect when you come to the office. (We will send this email out when it gets closer to re-opening).
In light of all this, Dr. Thompson feels it is not safe to re-open yet, at least not until we see the results of the Phase 1 re-opening. You and your family’s health and safety are our primary concerns. We know that it is possible for someone to carry and spread the virus without any symptoms. It is important that we wait at least 17 days to see if there are any increases in Covid-19 cases and hospitalizations related to the virus after May 1st, which allows for the incubation time of the virus.
Long story short, our plan is to re-evaluate the spread of the virus after Phase 1 with a projected re-opening date of 5/20/20.
Thank you for your patience as we put your health and safety first in everything we do. We will be in touch and we will email the new protocols and procedures as we approach the re-opening date. When we have a definitive open date, we will start calling you to schedule based on your previous appointment date.
Please continue to stay safe and healthy.
-The Thompson Dentistry Team-
New Date Set by TDA 5/8/2020
Tuesday, April 21, 2020
On Monday (4/20/2020), The Texas Dental Association (TDA) issued a formal statement regarding Governor Abbott’s recent order stating that routine dental care (such as cleanings, crowns, and fillings) must continue to be postponed until May 8th at this time. The statement says that after April 22nd, dentists in Texas are only allowed to treat patients if their condition would cause “serious medical consequences or death” if not immediately treated.
Apologies for all of the updates. Long story short, the new date is May 8th, with re-evaluation at that time.
Dr. Thompson continues to be available for your dental emergencies over the emergency line. Please continue to stay safe and healthy!
-The Thompson Dentistry Team-
Update: Temporary Closure Until 4/30/2020
Friday, April 17, 2020
On Friday, April 17, 2020, Gov. Abbott announced a phased reopening of Texas businesses beginning April 22nd with eased restrictions in some areas and more restrictions in others, with schools to remain closed for the remainder of the current school year.
It is unclear what this means for dental providers in Texas at this time, but until we gain further information from the Texas Dental Association, Dr. Thompson will abide by the current guideline set by the American Dental Association, which is to remain closed, except for emergencies, until April 30, 2020, and re-evaluate at that time.
This is an ever-changing situation. If we see a surge in Covid-19 cases, our office may need to remain temporarily closed for a little longer. We will continue to give you updates as we gain knowledge on the situation and the safest way to proceed. Our top priority is your health and safety.
As previously mentioned, if you have an appointment during the closure, as soon as the office re-opens, we will begin contacting you based on the order of your previously scheduled appointment.
Please continue to stay safe and healthy!
-The Thompson Dentistry Team-
TX Governor’s executive order to temporarily close dental offices
Tuesday, March 24, 2020
On Sunday 3/22/20, Governor Abbott made an executive order that due to the Covid-19 pandemic, all dental offices in TX are required to temporarily close until 4/21/20 and can only see dental emergencies during that time. The state will re-evaluate on 4/21/20 whether further closure is required.
They are defining emergency procedures as “conditions that are potentially life threatening and require immediate treatment to stop ongoing tissue bleeding [or to] alleviate severe pain or infection”. The guidelines specifically say that we are not allowed to do routine dentistry at this time (such as cleanings, fillings, or crowns).
Unfortunately this is no longer our decision, but a mandate by law and there are penalties for non-compliance. This is for you and our community’s health and safety. We will continue to be in contact with you regarding Covid-19 and how it affects our dental office. We will also have real time updates on our website, as mass emails can sometimes run a few days behind. Our website is: www.thompsondentistryaustin.com.
When it is safe to re-open, we will call you based on the order of your previously scheduled appointment to re-schedule. As always, if you are having a dental emergency that falls into the definition above, or if you have an issue with a temporary crown, Dr. Thompson is available on the emergency line. Just call the office phone number 512-900-9697 and follow the prompts for an emergency.
Please stay safe and healthy and we will be in touch.
-The Thompson Dentistry Team-
Temporary Closure due to Covid 19
Friday, March 20, 2020
Based on the most recent recommendation by the ADA, Thompson Dentistry has decided to temporarily close the office in an effort to help “flatten the curve” on Covid-19 and protect our patients. The closure will be for 3 weeks beginning on March 30th through April 20th. After the 3 weeks, we will reassess whether it is safe to re-open and will continue to be in close contact with you on the office status.
***If you have an appointment that is scheduled during the temporary closure, you do not need to call the office. We will contact you first thing when we re-open starting with patients scheduled on the first day of the closure and so on. This will avoid any need to re-schedule again if the coronavirus situation doesn’t stabilize within the 3 week period.***
Next week will be reserved for emergency and non-elective dental procedures. At this time, this includes cementing permanent crowns, so we will be cementing permanent crowns for non-high risk individuals next week, although we understand if you do not want to come and stay home. If you are scheduled to cement a permanent crown after March 30th, we will be contacting you on a time to accommodate you. If you are having a toothache, please contact the office so we can see you next week before the temporary closure.
During the 3 week closure, Dr. Thompson will still be available for emergencies by phone through the emergency line. Simply dial the office phone number 512-900-9697, and follow the prompts for the dental emergency. Dental emergency examples are: pain that is severe enough to wake you up in the night, infection, and/or swelling.
During times of stress, it is very common for patients to clench or grind their teeth at night which can feel like a toothache. Patients can do this without knowing. If you start experiencing jaw pain (pain felt by pushing hard on the cheek bone and going down to the base of the jaw), generalized cold sensitivity or dull ache in one or several teeth, the treatment to rule out clenching or grinding of teeth is to wear a night guard or retainers if you have them at night. You can also take ibuprofen for muscle soreness (if needed). After wearing a night guard/retainers nightly for 2 weeks, your symptoms should start to improve if they are caused by clenching/grinding your teeth. There are temporary night guards available over the counter at drug stores such as Walgreens or CVS or off Amazon if you do not already have a custom one.
It was a difficult decision to temporarily close, but our number one concern is your health and safety. Please know we are still here for you and we will be in close communication with the ever changing coronavirus situation and how it affects our dental office status. When we re-open, Dr. Thompson will be working extra hours to accommodate everyone and make sure everyone is taken care of.
The Thompson Dentistry Team