Gov. Ron DeSantis recently announced his plan for Florida’s recovery, which will allow for elective procedures to resume in medical offices across the state – including dental offices – beginning May 4. The governor’s executive order also outlined protocols that need to be met in order to restart elective procedures at such offices. As these centers begin to reopen, local dentists are preparing for adjustments for both staff and patients.
Dr. Cary Berdy joined the News4Jax morning team on May 1 to give his insight on what the new plans for reopening dental offices mean, what our office is doing to follow safety protocols and who should consider scheduling dentist appointments at this time.
How Berdy Dental is Handling Reopening per the Governor’s Instructions
While we’re very excited to start seeing patients in the office again, there is definitely a lot to look through when it comes to proper protocols and recommendations. We’re examining both the governor’s orders as well as the most recent CDC recommendations to get a full picture of what’s expected of us and what’s safest for our staff and patients.
We have only been open for emergencies as of late, which has given us the bandwidth to start proactively preparing for our eventual reopening. That being said, we are still going to set aside extra time for additional staff training before we officially open back up.
We want to be sure that our team feels fully prepared and comfortable with any new practices and procedures we implement in the interest of patient health. We plan to open by May 11, but we may open a bit sooner.
Additional Protocols We Are Taking
In anticipation of reopening, we have already taken several important precautions for our patients, including:
- Our offices’ ventilation systems effectively filter the air with UV light sterilization and a HEPA filter to keep contaminates out. We’ve also made further modifications to facilitate negative air pressure in our treatment rooms. We’ve had additional returns placed in all operatories to help with air evacuation.
- We have placed barriers in our reception area to help maintain safe social distancing – similar to the ones you’ve likely seen at grocery stores lately.
- We will be limiting the amount of people who can accompany our patients during their appointments to one (if needed).
- We are taking extra precautions to screen people for illness or potential exposure before they are seen.
- We have a staff illness policy in place that mandates that our staff must report illness and not work if they feel ill.
How to Know When to Come into the Office for an Appointment
When we open, we will welcome appointments for all procedures – from routine cleanings and screenings to emergency care and elective surgeries. However, we will likely implement a triage-style setup for appointments initially so that we can prioritize which patients must be seen sooner based on the severity of their needs.
At Berdy Dental Group, we’re big believers in the power of preventative care when it comes to your oral health. It’s incredibly important for catching often-undiagnosed issues such as gum disease or even oral cancer.
We highly encourage the public to keep their dental health a top priority and to try to still squeeze in your routine care appointments if you feel comfortable doing so at this time. If you’re unsure as to whether your specific needs require an appointment urgently, feel free to give us a call and we can discuss your situation, assess your need and schedule you an appointment at the appropriate time. We’re going to work hard to fit everyone in.
It also goes without saying, but if you’re not feeling well, please be respectful of others by rescheduling your appointment for when you’re feeling better (plan for a time that includes being symptom-free for two weeks). We’ll be screening patients for potential illness when they enter our office as part of our new protocols as well to help protect the health of all of our patients and staff.
If you’re immunocompromised or at a higher risk for contracting coronavirus, it’s very much a personal choice whether you decide to head into our office – or your other health offices – for regular appointments at this point. Rest assured that we’re here to support you in any way we can during these uncertain times, so please don’t hesitate to contact us.
We look forward to seeing our patients in the office again and we really appreciate everyone’s patience as our office and other dental and medical offices work to follow new procedures.
For any questions, please call our office at (904) 389-1376.