Update, Dec. 13, 2020
I’m glad Gov. Wolf and the Secretary of Health did not restrict dental services from continuing.
The dental community was very vocal to our representatives and senators about the last shutdown. The governor and health secretary deemed many of our treatments nonessential; this is not true.
Most of what we provide is essential.
Let me define “necessary” care. “Procedures necessary to preserve organ or bodily function or if not performed in a timely fashion has the potential to compromise overall health and the outcome of the procedure due to continuation or progression of the underlying condition, symptom, or disease.”
There’s nothing “routine” about a six-month cleaning. These visits are essential.
We do oral cancer screenings.
We visually look to see if anything new has occurred or anything has significantly progressed.
We take x-rays to show us what our eyes can’t see.
We give essential advice and recommend treatment for conditions.
We clean your teeth of tartar and debris that causes gum disease.
We fill cavities instead of them progressing to tooth infections.
We want to prevent tooth loss.
There are only a few common sense things we need to do from now on.
If you’re sick, stay home. We understand.
For now, continue to wear your face covering until this pandemic is over.
Wash your hands when you can. Sanitize them in between.
For the time being, we do not have the appointment capacity we once had. Our bookings support physical distancing and are limiting different families together at once.
On infection control in a dental office
Dentists have always done infection control the right way. We have dealt with pandemics in the past and work with infectious diseases year-round.
Our primary goal is for the safety of you, our patients.
Important information now that we’re back to work
We have a tremendous backlog of appointments to catch up on. Our phones will be busy and it’s impossible for us to handle many calls at once.
But, not to worry!
Here are the best two ways to get in contact with us:
The past few months, the ordered closures, the stay-at-home-orders, destroyed our schedule.
Now it’s time to rebuild it. And, we can! I need your help. Be patient with us.
We all have a lot of catching up to do and I want to do it right.
This week we are preparing for a re-opening June 15.
The past few months have not been easy for everyone.
We have a lot of catching up and a lot of work we need to do before next week.
Supply inventory – Discard any expired, order fresh supplies.
Instruments – Reprocess and sterilize.
Equipment – Clean and flush water lines. Ensure equipment operational. Perform back-to-service maintenance.
Office – Prepare for business to be done with minimal, unnecessary contact. Ensure a minimal overlapping of contacts.
The pandemic is not over. Precautions still need to be done. Arrive with a face covering. Sanitize your hands on arrival. We have stations throughout the office.
Department of Health Reverses Prohibition on Dental Care – All Phases of Care Allowed
Routine cleanings and elective procedures may resume
Shad Lewis, DMD
West Lawn, PA – June 03, 2020
In an unexpected policy release today from the PA Dept. of Health (DOH), Gov. Wolf and Sec. R. Levine reversed their prohibition on non-urgent and elective dental care effective since March 19.
Before today’s guidance, dentists were not expecting to resume this type of care until Berks County entered their green phase of reopening.
The DOH still recommends things to help us reduce the spread of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, as well as other germs:
- Telephone screening for symptoms of COVID-19 before appointments.
- Limiting the number of visitors.
- Use of face coverings on anyone entering the office.
- Temperature checks on arrival.
- Delaying treatment in the presence of fever (100.4 >).
- Dentists to monitor community spread of COVID-19 and adjust accordingly.
Dentist and Hygienist Personal Protective Equipment
The Department of Health and the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency is not currently prioritizing dental practices for PPE distribution.
We still need the right stuff – it is up to us to have the proper equipment to treat you. And we have it.
We divide dental treatment into two categories: those that produce an aerosol, and those that do not.
Examples of aerosol treatment include the water spray instrument (Cavitron) used during your cleaning or the dental drill used to smooth and polish your new white filling.
During aerosol treatment, you will notice some changes. We have different masks that look different than what you are used to seeing. Full face shield use.
The germ theory of disease is an accepted model that says microscopic things, those we can’t see, make us sick.
And if we keep this front-and-center in our minds, all of us will do well:
- Keep your hands clean.
- Sneeze into your elbow.
- Stay home if you’re sick.
And, of course, my obligatory things:
- Brush your teeth twice a day.
- Floss your teeth each time before brushing.
- Watch the sugar.
- See your dentist every six months.
See you soon!
BREAKING – The PA Department of Health released new guidelines for dentists.
This will be updated and detailed later tonight, into tomorrow.
We can resume your routine care!
We will start reaching out to those over-due since March 18th and reschedule you quickly.
Shad Lewis, DMD
ROUTINE DENTAL CLEANINGS AND VISITS STILL NOT RECOMMENDED
PA Sec. of Health says not until county in green
West Lawn – May 24, valid until Jun 05
Shad Lewis, DMD
On May 21, PA Sec. of Health, during a press conference, was asked to clarify what dentists can and cannot do.
“Acceptable activities in yellow and red zones include acute, urgent issues… What we’re not recommending is the routine cleanings that take place at dental offices – routine examinations where you have your visit every six months. That, in the red and yellow zones, is not recommended. That would be for the green zones.” See https://pacast.com/m?p=18036 at the 15:50 mark.
Berks County remains in red until Jun 05, and then we move to yellow. There is yet no indication when we are going to green.
The PA Dept. of Health continually refers to CDC guidelines, which still advise dentists are to avoid aerosol-generating procedures, dental drills, and air/water syringe use. Further, personal protective protocols are more involved during this pandemic.
Conversely, the department of health makes it clear they are not prioritizing dentists for personal protective equipment (PPE).
The Federal Emergency Management Agency and Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency are directing manufacturers to first supply those treating COVID-19 patients.
Dental supply companies are backordered of needed PPE for dentists. Our supplies are short.
Emergency and Urgent Issues
The CDC recommends telephone-triaging patients in need of care, using teledentistry options as alternatives to in-office care.
They say to use minimally invasive procedures, using hand instruments only – this is a temporary treatment. Dentists can not fix teeth without a drill.
Whether you agree, or disagree, with how your leaders are handling these events, now is the time, more than ever, to be in contact with your state senators and representatives. Call them. Write to them. Engage them on social media. They need to know how you are – for better or for worse.
Please follow for updates at sldmd.com
Changed date moving to yellow from Jun 06 to Jun 05.
This message is dated May 20 and remains valid until May 28.
We are preparing for a phased opening but I cannot provide dates for details.
I am available by appointment for certain things. And, they are extremely specific.
The American Dental Association published interim guidance during this pandemic for dental care based on recommendations from the World Health Organization, Centers for Disease Control and prevention, and scientific literature.
On May 19, the Pennsylvania Sec. of health was asked about salons, barbers, and massage therapists being able to open responsibly. “It is impossible to provide those services and practice social distancing.” Further, “these involve hands-on treatment as part of those services, so thus, we are not allowing them in the red and yellow zones.” See https://pacast.com/m?p=18029 at the 10:45 mark.
Although routine dental care was not mentioned, I feel they are considering it alongside hair salons, which is unfortunate because we routinely wear protective equipment.
Our governor has no idea when any counties will enter his green phase.
Whether you agree or disagree with how these events are being handled, you need to be in contact with your state senators and representatives. Call them. Write to them. Engage them on social media (1). Let them know how you’re doing-they need to know for better or for worse.