Dear Valued Patient,
A few days ago the World Health Organization (WHO) declared Coronavirus an international emergency of the highest order and labelled it as a pandemic. This has necessarily caused concern in the public and governments everywhere are preparing for the worst.
Our provincial licensing body, the RCDSO, has ordered that all elective, non essential treatment be postponed and that only offices with pandemic preparedness may remain open to treat dental emergencies. Arvanitis and Associates is one of those offices. I am writing this update to keep you abreast of what we are doing to ensure the safety of our patients and staff.
First of all, let me reassure you that Arvanitis and Associates has always maintained the highest order of cleanliness and sterility to protect our patients and staff from spreading illness and cross contamination. So whether it’s coronavirus or the regular seasonal flu we have always been prepared.
Each treatment room has always had every surface disinfected after every patient. The dental chairs, counters, and all surfaces are wiped down with hospital grade disinfectants after each and every procedure. Every instrument is washed, disinfected, bagged and then sterilized. Anything that isn’t sterilized is disposed of. Each instrument pack has a date stamped on it and inside the pack is an indicator strip that ensures the deepest portion of the instrument kit achieved the required temperature to be sterile. Every day the sterilizer has a live culture test to ensure it is working properly. Every surgical instrument kit is quarantined after sterilization while we run a live culture test to ensure that no microbes grow. We treat the water in our dental chairs to ensure sterility. Then we test the waterlines routinely with more live culture tests to ensure they remain clean. We installed a $130,000 hospital grade sterilizer over a year ago, in addition to the 4 dental sterilizers we already employ. We employ a full time person, whose sole responsibility is the cleaning and sterilization of all of our instruments. And lastly as you know we have always required that all footwear be removed before being seated in one of our treatment rooms. Perhaps now you understand better why I have always done this.
What about airborne pathogens? We have 3 large "Surgically Clean Air" units stationed around the office that clean and filter the air. These are hospital operating room level HEPA air filters that include negative ion and UV light air purification. We have been doing all of these things in the background for years now.
So what are we doing differently now that we are in an actual pandemic here in Canada? We are now screening all of our patients and ensuring that if they have travelled, have sick family members at home, or are even mildly unwell that they do not come to our office. Every patient that enters will now be required to sanitize their hands immediately, wear a mask at all times when they are not in treatment and, as always, remove their street shoes. No accompanying guests will be allowed into the office. All staff, not just our treatment providers, will now be wearing gowns and N95 masks all day to ensure their protection and yours. Clinical staff will also be wearing face shields. We will sanitize all surfaces that patients touch, such as debit machines, reception chairs, and door handles.
In closing we want everyone to know that: we are available to see dental emergencies and take care of you, your family and your friends; we have always been prepared for situations like this; we are ready; and our office is safe and secure.
Dr. George Arvanitis