What’s New at SLDG?

Author: Dr. David Dickerhoff, DDS, MAGD, FOCOI

The lightning strike that hit our building a few weeks ago has earned our attention and made for lots of re-investment in new equipment and technology. Our IT provider, ARC has been working overtime in trying to keep us operational and compliant with HIPPA and OSHA. The staff has been “rolling with the punches” and insuring that we are not compromising our care in these special circumstances. I want to thank all of our patient base in understanding why we have been moving the schedule around in order to comply with all of the special requirements in meeting this challenge. Not to mention that this all takes place at a time when the pandemic is presenting us with new challenges on a daily basis.

The viral variants that are in the news these days are not something that does not deserve our attention.  I watch and subscribe to all the CDC announcements and I monitor the scientific literature that give us recommendations based on the best knowledge about this very aggressive illness. But the bottom line concerning my understanding of where we are at with defensive measures in defending ourselves during this pandemic has not changed in spite of our best efforts in trying to vaccinate the population in order to achieve herd immunity.

Spring Lake Dental Group continues to put into practice the defensive measures we have always practiced in demonstrating universal precautions. We screen our patients prior to entering the building and our IT provider software, Lighthouse 360, also asks relevant questions while confirming appointments. Social distancing is practiced in our reception room by having our screening technician keep our patients in their vehicles until their treatment team is prepared to seat them. Our staff no longer has logistical problems in achieving optimal PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) because we have purchased adequate levels of N95 respirators, level  1, 2 or 3 facemasks, gowns, head covers, face shields and gloves.

The practice understands the risks of having adequate airflow exchange by using HVE (High Volume Evacuation) and rubber dams. We have every operatory equipped with HEPA air filtration and UV lighting to assist in viral mitigation. At the start of each clinic day, the entire practice is fogged with hypochlorous acid and this cold fogging is performed between seating patients in every operatory. Cold fogging is the same disinfection performed on airplanes between flights by the FAA.

All of these efforts have been added since the Covid-19 outbreak in January of 2020. We have always practiced universal  precautions since out practice opened twenty five years ago. Perhaps the reason why Covid-19 deaths, hospitalizations and infections have been so low in our professional community is because of these practices and our beliefs in following the science. I encourage all of our patient base to remain vigilant in getting the vaccination, wearing a mask and maintaining social distancing. A tent in located in Southwinds Plaza beside Big Lots which will perform both types of testing if you are unsure of your viral status. Let us remain committed during this pandemic. The end may be in sight, but we are not there yet.