To Our Wonderful Patients,
We have been through unprecedented times together, that’s for sure! We have all had to make adjustments to our lives and make tough decisions. Our team continues to work diligently to keep our patients and each other safe, and we are happy to report that we have taken care of our patients through this pandemic without a single reported transmission!
Overall, dentists have been hyper-aware of infection control since the 1980s when they had to respond to the HIV AIDS crisis. Since then, we have adopted procedures to prevent disease transmission that are part of our daily routine. Every team member is trained to follow these strict guidelines. One significant protocol that contributes to our success is the practice of universal precautions. This was a policy in place before COVID-19 entered our world, and we will continue this policy into the future. Universal precautions means that we take the same precautions with every patient, as if they have a transmittable disease. This allows us to safely treat patients without discrimination. The reality is that we may treat a patient who is asymptomatic, yet still contagious, so we will continue to work diligently to treat our patients fairly and safely without discrimination of race, gender, religious affiliation, medical condition or vaccination status, etc. We do not yet have long-term data on the effectiveness of the vaccine, and since there have already been breakthrough cases with the new variants of the virus, we will err on the side of caution.
With the COVID-19 vaccination now readily available, we are sometimes asked if our team is fully vaccinated. While we understand the concern behind the question is “will I be safe?”, we have had to carefully navigate this area as well. Under federal laws, an employer must allow exceptions for religious and serious medical conditions while adhering to federal regulations in the Americans with Disabilities Act and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as not to discriminate against an employee. In addition, information shared with an employer related to vaccinated status is protected per the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, or HIPAA, of 1996. I have a moral and legal responsibility to protect my employees’ private information, just as I protect my patients’ private information. While I cannot answer that question directly, and I have instructed my team not to answer that in order to protect their privacy, please know that we have acted responsibly to protect our community before the vaccine was given emergency clearance and we will continue with those universal precautions and enhanced infection control and prevention procedures.
Enhanced Infection Control Procedures:
- Disinfecting all equipment and surfaces that are commonly touched.
- Checking staff and patient temperatures daily.
- Screening patients for infectious symptoms.
- Encouraging distance between patients in our reception and escorting patients directly to their sterilized treatment room.
- Face masks or face shields are worn by all staff when social distancing is not possible.
- Prior to treatment, patients gargle with antiseptic mouthwash to reduce any viral load that may be present in the mouth.
- Each room is equipped with an air purifier that is rated to capture particle sizes as small as the coronavirus and turns over the air in each room every 15 minutes.
- Each room is equipped with anti-viral, anti-bacterial therapeutic oil diffusers.
We thank you for your cooperation. If you have any questions regarding our COVID-19 protocols in Mooresville, North Carolina, feel free to call our office at 704-664-7774.
Dr. Hoang H. Drouin and the Lake Norman Smiles team