Howdy folks, with this problematic virus running around, we thought it would be helpful to let you know a little about what we are doing here to keep you safely out of it's reach. Please know that we have always been on the front lines of preventing the spread of diseases and have always gone to great lengths to follow appropriate guidelines. From treatment and waiting room disinfection to the strict use of personal protective equipment (PPE), the safety of our patients and staff continues to be of utmost importance.
And, when it comes to preventing the spread of this particular Coronavirus, rest assured Dr. Ballard has always been strict on universal precautions. These precautions include the use of masks, glasses, gloves, gowns and sterile instruments as well as clean and disinfected environmental surfaces. Additionally, frequently touched surfaces such as door handles, chairs, desks and bathrooms are cleaned and disinfected at frequent intervals during the day.
While your check-in process may involve a few extra steps this will help ensure the safety of you and the staff. For instance our process now includes screening and triage questions when we confirm your appointment as well as when you arrive. Waiting in your vehicle versus the waiting room can be helpful. If you would like to wait in your vehicle, simply text us at (208) 946-5650 when you arrive and we will text you back when it is time to bring you back into our treatment area. Checking your temperature or asking that you follow social distancing and infection control etiquette is a regular occurrence. And, we would ask, to the best of your ability you refrain from bringing companions to appointments, unless necessary. For our younger patients, having one parent accompany them is ideal. For our teenage patients, rest assured if there is anything that needs to be addressed with a parent, we will contact you directly and provide an update. Otherwise know that treatment is progressing well.
You will note our waiting room chair arrangement allows for 6 feet between seated patients, all of the video games, magazines, toothbrushes, pens, toys etc have been removed (sorry but it will make the area more hygienic.) You are all requested to brush your teeth at home prior to your orthodontic appointment. We have hand sanitizer in multiple locations within the office. Blue tape at the receptions desks help encourage separation as well. There will typically be less patients in the office at one time to promote social distancing. You will see the orthodontic assistance in disposable gowns and wearing masks and face-shields. Of course hands are washed over and over and over and then washed again. Staff, including Dr. Ballard will not be at work if they have symptoms of or are diagnosed with COVID-19 and patient appointments are rescheduled if diagnosis and/or symptoms of COVID 19 are present for them. If you have any questions or concerns, please don’t hesitate to ask us.
Rest assured Dr. Ballard will be following recommended precautions to treat all orthodontic patients safely. Having said that, despite our best attempt at avoiding, eliminating, reducing and minimizing the risk of any communicable disease, there is still a chance an individual may pick one up at our office. Likely due to scenarios that neither we or anyone else have considered, or may even be aware of. We simply don’t know all things about this particular Coronavirus. So, please understand while the risk we believe is minimal and significantly mitigated in our office it is not completely eliminated and we respect your right to postpone visits if you are concerned. If you elect to postpone visiting our office, please communicate this to us. Generally speaking, unmonitored and unsupervised orthodontic treatment poses increased risk for unwanted side affects including root shortening, gum tissue recession, and a variety of other undesirable side affects. So, again if you determine to avoid visiting our office in the short term, please let us know so we can make a plan for how and when to move forward with orthodontic treatment.
For most of us, this particular virus will be a nuisance and inconvenient but manageable. For a few, they will have a tougher time. Fortunately our patient population is, for the most part, a low risk group relative to negative outcomes. In the end we are optimistic that with these adjustments, a positive attitude and a healthy lifestyle . . . including straight teeth, there will be many great (and COVID-19 free) days ahead!!