In addition to our standard sterilizing and disinfecting safety protocols, and extra precautions we use to minimize disease progression for tuberculosis, HEP-C, HIV/AIDS, the common cold, and flu, our dental office added enhanced COVID protocols:
- Prescreening every staff member and every patient.
- Asking you to remain in your car until your appointed time.
- Requiring that no additional persons accompany you unless needed or pre-approved by Dr. Griffith.
- Requiring that all patients wear a mask when outside of the treatment areas. If patients did not bring one, we will provide them with one.
- Adding increased personal protective equipment for our staff to the universal precautions that every healthcare office provides. We use long-sleeved scrubs that are laundered and do not leave the office, head wraps, N95 masks, surgical gowns, face shields, and goggles.
- Removing high traffic items like magazines, toys, and keeping doors propped open.
- Wiping high-touch surfaces in the waiting room four times a day with COVID-19 killing agents and increased janitorial cleanings multiple times a week.
- Minimizing aerosol producing procedures. For example, cleanings may have a different feel with less water than previously.
- Using a rubber dam during procedures when applicable.
- Minimizing air passage between operatories and from operatories to the waiting room through our unique HVAC system.
Frequently Asked Questions
We know you may have questions, and we encourage you to call our front desk with any questions or concerns you may have (509) 838-2434. Below are common questions that we are frequently asked.
Can I put off my dental appointment until after the COVID-19 pandemic is over?
Your regular dental appointments are an essential part of your overall health. While it may be tempting to put off regular checkups until things feel more “normal” again, we advise against it. Routine appointments allow us to check for a number of health conditions. Some, like tooth decay, can be caught and treated early, preventing a more difficult, painful, and expensive experience if left undetected. Your health and safety are top priority. Our entire team is taking every precaution to limit the risk of COVID-19 transmission at your visit.
What about teledentistry? Can I substitute a virtual visit for my regular appointment?
A phone or video appointment isn’t the same as your regular appointment. Teledental appointments can be helpful in some situations, such as determining if an oral health issue is an emergency that requires immediate treatment or if it can wait. If you think you may be experiencing a dental emergency, please call us immediately, and we’ll help you decide if you need to come in. Teledentistry should be viewed as a consultation, and it does not replace in-person exams.
What are you doing differently because of COVID-19?
We are taking many science-backed steps to help limit the spread of COVID-19, including:
- Being Certified COVID-19 Clean: We completed a 100-question exam on CDC, DOH, and ADA, and implemented those recommendations.
- Increasing personal protective equipment, including N95 masks, head wraps, face shields, goggles, and surgical gowns or long-sleeved scrubs and lab coats.
- Increasing cleaning protocols, including disinfectants known to kill the coronavirus that causes COVID-19, removing high-touch items like magazines and toys from waiting rooms, and frequently cleaning items like pens and clipboards.
- Asking you to wait in your car until your appointed time.
- Asking you to wear a face mask. If you do not have one, we will provide you with one.
- Asking patients not to bring additional people to their appointment.
I’ve heard it’s safer to schedule appointments first thing in the morning — the office will be cleaner because there haven’t been patients coming through before me. Is that true?
Schedule your dental appointment for the time that works for you. The same enhanced cleaning protocols occur all day long, including leaving the exam/treatment room empty for a period once a patient leaves the office. Allowing additional time between patients gives us time to thoroughly clean and disinfect each space.
How is your dental team monitoring themselves for COVID-19?
Each team member completes daily health screenings (taking their temperature to ensure they don’t have a fever and passing a series of health questions each day to ensure they’re not experiencing any COVID-19 symptoms).
I’ve heard there might be a COVID-related charge on my bill. What’s that for?
The safety of patients and dental staff is our highest priority. Because of the shortages in personal protective equipment (PPE), the cost of (PPE) increased considerably. Our office is including this charge during the pandemic until supply can meet demand, and costs are controlled. If you have a dental benefit plan, the ADA has been encouraging insurances to cover some or all the charges. However, the outcome is up to each plan.
I was told that you could not see me because of my COVID-19 risk. Can you do that?
Yes. The safety of our patients and the dental team is our highest priority. As Dentists, we use our professional judgment and guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and ADA to determine risk levels for seeing patients. If it were determined that you are high risk due to your symptoms, recent exposure, or high temperature on the day of your appointment, we would ask that you reschedule your appointment and will gladly discuss which factors determined delay of service so that you can self-monitor and reschedule.