Updated COVID-19 Protocols
The focus and priority of my practice has always been the health and safety of our patients and team. You will be reassured to know that sterility protocols instituted in our practice meet and in many instances exceed provincial requirements.
We have always disinfected our non-clinical areas. Naturally our clinical areas are disinfected after every patient. We have incorporated Surgically Clean Air units in each of our practice’s treatment rooms. Out of an abundance of caution, additional ventilation has been installed in all treatment rooms to speed the dissipation of aerosols. All our treatment rooms are sealed while matching the office’s professional decor. Each of the treatment rooms are lined with a vinyl wall covering that is both antibacterial and anti-viral. This is of particular importance when aerosol generating procedures are performed. Further, the office carpeting has been replaced with new antimicrobial (anti-viral & anti-bacterial) carpeting. These measures far exceed all current guidelines because we take the position that patient safety remains paramount. The practice adheres to all instructions and advice from the Royal College of Dental Surgeons of Ontario, The World Health Organization, Toronto Public Health and the Centers for Disease Control. Thank you for your continued support and trust in our care. We hope these additional precautionary measures serve to comfort our patients that we are doing everything possible to keep you and our community healthy and safe. The unprecedented events wrought by the COVID-19 pandemic reinforce Dylan’s lament “the times they are a changing!”
Your health and safety remain paramount. The practice has always maintained the strictest sterilization, disinfection and protection protocols to ensure a safe environment for our patients and staff. Dr. Novack wishes to reassure each patient of the additional precautions we instituted to safeguard our patients and staff.
Our entire team remains committed to protecting your health and safety and in so doing, the community. We truly appreciate the confidence our patients have shown and we remain committed to maintaining your trust while providing the highest level of professional care and safety.
Especially during these unprecedented times, please don’t hesitate to contact us with any questions or concerns.
The Treatment Room Air – It’s All About Ventilation!
Society and certainly the dental profession continue to face many unknowns surrounding COVID. We all seek the truth when confronted almost daily with seemingly conflicting science. COVID -19 has reinforced Dylan’s lament “the times they are a changing”.
Dr. Novack fully appreciated that sealing treatment – operatory rooms would mean that potential COVID virus aerosols would remain trapped within the operatory. Alternatively, opening the operatory to air them out would only serve to disperse aerosols throughout the office placing our patients and staff at risk.
In truth, very few in the dental profession ever considered the issue of operatory air exchange when designing their practices. Dr. Novack’s office design was to create a very professional décor where the assurance of an absolutely safe and clean environment was palpable and yet neither oppressive nor sterile. The reality is COVID has changed everything!
There is nothing more critical than the safety of the air we and our patients breathe. To address this critical issue, this spring in consultation with the building management where the office is located, Dr. Novack arranged for the installation of a secondary – very robust ventilation/HVAC unit with ductwork and appropriate returns leading to and from each operatory. Superior air filtration was incorporated to ensure cleaner air. In each of the operatories Surgically Clean Air filtration units were installed to not merely increase ventilation, but rid the operatories rapidly of all potential aerosol borne pathogens. Surgically Clean Air units aside from employing the highest grade HEPA filter incorporate both an activated charcoal filter and very intense but shielded UV light that has been shown to kill all viruses.
A question repeatedly posed by other dentists is whether these precautions are truly necessary. The dental profession has a longstanding history of endorsing the concept of Universal Precautions. In Ontario however, the Dental College chose to accept a lower standard of safety unless it could be shown that a patient was indeed COVID positive. What is now known is that many who contract COVID are asymptomatic and afebrile. Universal screening and IR temperature checks will not protect our practice, staff and ourselves from asymptomatic patients. The College however advised that a Fallow Time of 3-4 hours may be necessary between patients should a verifiable COVID 19 patient present. The reality is that without testing, we really didn’t know which patient is negative or merely asymptomatic to COVID.
Throughout Dr. Novack’s professional career he has always chosen to adhere to a higher standard. His response was to ensure all practice treatment rooms operatories were officially certified at over 50 air exchanges occur per hour. This translates into a total (99.9%) elimination of aerosols (virus, bacteria, etc.) in less than 7 minutes following a patient’s appointment. What we can share is that our staff and patients feel more secure.
Tele-Medicine versus Tele-Dentistry
The COVID – 19 lockdown and subsequent health protection guidelines instituted in response to the pandemic have caused a seismic shift in how we communicate.
The medical profession in large measure has embraced the transition from in office consultations to in many cases Tele-Medicine (i.e. telephone or computer/web services). This change occurred though a confluence of events and technologies that extended beyond COVID 19 to encompass privacy assured communication along multiple platforms. Equally essential was the change in OHIP billing that now allows physicians to bill for consultations performed either over the phone or through web-based services. It is important to reflect that historically, physicians upon receipt and review of a patient’s records and/or test results were required to schedule an in-person appointment in order to be reimbursed by OHIP.
As a counter point, currently no dental insurance carriers reimburse policy holders for consultations performed virtually. What distinguishes the dental from medical profession is the absolute requirement to examine each patient directly. X-rays (radiographs) which are often essential to complete the oral examinations are generally performed at the same appointment. With all necessary information then readily at hand, patients can be advised the same day on their clinical situation, the relevant options to ameliorate their dental health problems, the risks, benefits and alternatives to each option and naturally, the anticipated cost of treatment. Sending a patient home to schedule a Tele-Dentistry conference when an in-person consultation could be had the very same day typically doesn’t make much sense.
The above notwithstanding, there are instances when an in-person consultation is not feasible or alternatively, particularly onerous. Numerous patients that Dr. Novack treats hail from significant distances (i.e. Boston, Chicago, Montreal, Ottawa, Hamilton, Niagara Falls, London, Barrie, etc.). Dr. Novack recognizes the need to offer alternative modes of communication responsive to each patient’s particular circumstance while ensuring that information exchange is open, transparent and comprehensive.
Dr. Novack maintains that certain intangibles are only evident when communicating in person that could otherwise be lost in a virtual setting. Dr. Novack however has an unwavering respect for our patients and naturally, their time. What is critical irrespective of the consultation process is the scheduling of sufficient time for an effective exchange of information thereby ensuring all questions are asked and comprehensively answered. Dr. Novack has and will always continue to view patient care and service as a sacred trust.
Should those upon visiting our website wish to communicate virtually, Dr. Novack is willing and able to arrange a Tele- Dentistry consultation.
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