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Dentistry in the Time of COVID

 
(805) 682-5600

 

Valued friends and patients.

We've entered a new phase on the world stage and the dental theater, specifically. My practice, originally under Drs Yeoman and Williams, has safely treated patients for almost 70 years and we in this for the long haul, though we find ourselves hauling down a new and uncertain road! We are taking the steps necessary to safely treat our patients, following guidance from the CDC, Public Health Departments and the State of California. Overall, we expect to prioritize treatment until further notice. We have put in place systems for patient care, like rotation of treatment rooms, 50-60 minute room disinfection & sterilization downtime between patient visits and HEPA filtration throughout the office. There are barriers in place, every treatment room has open windows, so it makes it a bit noisy. We are adding UV light disinfection as well. Thankfully, the coronavirus is a very fragile virus, killed by most soaps, disinfectants and time itself.

I have additional employees for patient screening, and Juli does coronal polishing for all patients prior to Carrie's hygiene/perio maintenance visit. If you call the office you should have an employee answer your questions, get a recording or even get me (lucky you!). Regardless, you can text me directly at my cell # 403-9103 in the 805. Feel free to leave a message!

HOW WE WILL CONDUCT YOUR APPOINTMENT:

At Home/Online:

1. Take the ADA self assessment query: Click Here.

Please do not come in if you feel unwell! This includes possibly sick with cold, coughing, fever, recent loss of taste/smell, runny nose, sneezing, headache, diarrhea, or have traveled by plane in the past 2 weeks. We are happy to reschedule with 48 hrs notice.

At the Alamar Dental Center Parking Lot:

1. PLEASE ARRIVE 10 MINUTES EARLY. Call our office from your car, give us your car's description and we may come out to your car for a screening. Alternately you can come to the front door. At the front door you can use the hand sanitizer and a staff member will screen you. Please wear a facemask. We will take your temperature and review your paperwork.

2. We will escort you into our office directly to your treatment room and review your conditions before we start.

4. You will remove your mask and Dr. Mintzer or his hygienist will don PPE before beginning.

FOR ALL APPOINTMENTS:

For patients seen in our office, we will allow 50-60 minutes for individual room turnover (air filtration and disinfection) before another patient is seen. The CDC recently relaxed their guidelines from 15 minutes to zero, nationally, which I believe inadequate.

HOW HELPFUL IS COVID-19 TESTING?

We all want to find out if we, or our patients, are now or have had contact with the COVID-19 virus and can transmit this disease. The tests that are being used are minimally helpful, unfortunately. There are two basic types of tests, one looking for parts of the virus itself from nasal swabs (Q-tips) and one from the blood (serology) looking for antibodies against the disease. The former is more accurate, and can show if you're "shedding" virus from your respiratory tract, but only if the swab is a good sample. If it's not, this may lead to a false negative result. There aren't many "false positives," however, if you get a positive result then you're contagious and may know it! Likewise, you could be asymptomatic and capable of transmitting the virus. The second test type requires a small amount of blood to see if you've had contact with the disease over the past weeks to months but not within the last week or two, when you could be contagious. Again, more false negatives can be produced. In the article by the Atlantic Magazine, they report that the CDC has reported mixing the data from both reports, creating a lower total incidence. Testing really tells us who is already sick/contagious and should be quarantined but has not been used effectively to locate the asymptomatic "super spreaders" who are most responsible for infecting others. The idealized, best way is to have 330,000,000 tests given to everyone in the country, on the same day, with results given that day, and actions taken afterwards to quarantine or treat those affected. NOT a possibility.

Atlantic Magazine:  How testing may be of limited usefulness.

HELPFUL COVID-19 LINKS:

Country & State Comparisons

US - Overall Mortality Rates & COVID Animation

Map - Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center

This has happened before. SARS-1: Why traveling by plane is a hazard

  


 

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