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Dentistry in the Time of COVID

 
(805) 682-5600

 

Dear friends and patients,

We seem to have entered a new phase on the world stage and the dental theater, pandemically speaking. My practice, originally under Drs Yeoman and Williams, has safely treated patients for almost 70 years and we here for the long haul, though we find ourselves hauling down a new and uncertain road!

We expect to prioritize treatment until May 2021 and have put in place systems for patient care, like room disinfection & sterilization downtime between patient visits, specialized vacuum systems and HEPA filtration throughout the office. There are barriers in place, every treatment room has open windows, so it makes it a bit noisy, as we live the "New York dental experience" with sound effects generously provided by State Street traffic.

Dr & Staff Vaccinations: Dose #1: 1/7/21 for Dr., 1/12/21 for all staff. Resumption of many dental appointments at Dose #1 + 14 days, recall periodontal maintenance appointments 2/15/21.

If you call the office you can have Evelyn 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 COVID self assessment query: Click Here.

Please do not come in if you feel unwell! This includes signs of cold or flu, coughing, fever, recent loss of taste/smell, runny nose, sneezing, headache, diarrhea, muscle aches. Likewise please inform us if you have traveled by plane in the past 2 weeks or been in a larger gathering (greater than 8 people). 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.

INTERESTING FEATURES OF COVID-19

  1. Masks! Masks! Masks! Facial coverings are crucial and may be much more important than hand washing.
  2. Mutants & Variants: The coronavirus is large for it's class and contains some "proofreading" instructions to maintain the fidelity of its copies. This makes it generally more stable over time and easier to target a vaccine against. Variant virus's have been detected that make increase transmission, but should not greatly effect the targeting by vaccines, to a large degree. There are "variants of concern" including "escape mutants" that may adapt to vaccinated human hosts. Time will tell if this is a serious threat, but the poliovirus, to cite one example, has been with us for over 70 years and the decades old vaccine targeted against it is still effective.
  3. The amount of virus you become exposed to may important in that a more massive/extensive exposure may lead to a more severe outcome, all other things being equal.
  4. Many researchers assume that, given enough time, we will all get either the virus itself or the vaccination, until some point herd immunity is established, at whatever percentage of the population that stabilizes at.
  5. The Silver Lining:
    1. The virus doesn't live long without a host, so contaminated surfaces not likely responsible for spread, and soap and water kill it effectively.
    2. The vaccines work beyond all initial hopes, esp if following original protocols, and quite well after dose #1.
    3. No reliable evidence yet of vaccinated people spreading virus to a significant extent.

MY TAKE (3/12/21)...

I think we're getting it done, for the most part! With the US population of 330 million, and over 65 million vaccinated and up to 3 million more daily, we are closing in at 50% of the population, counting the 50 million or so who have already been exposed to the coronavirus and have some degree of immunity. President Biden's announcement of wide vaccine availability by May 1, 2021 should put COVID into the rear view mirror by June, lacking any significant hiccups. Optimism says plan those July 4th BBQ's and August Hawaiian vacations.

Until then, getting by March/April presents a strong argument to wear a mask and not take unnecessary chances.

Personal Vaccine Experience: First dose Moderna on 1/7/21. Second dose 2/5/21. No significant side effects, besides a sore arm. This is highly variable and more immunogenetic reactions expected with youth and 2nd dose. Regardless, your reactions to the vaccine do not appear to relate to later immunity levels.

Roy Mintzer, DDS

HELPFUL COVID-19 LINKS (DATED & ONGOING):

Santa Barbara Public Health Department Summary

Santa Barbara COVID Dashboard

International, National & State-Wide Comparisons

US - Overall Mortality Rates & COVID Animation through the Pandemic

Map - Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center

  


 

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