YOUR HEALTH AND SAFETY IS TOP PRIORITY TO US
Our Offices Are Open
Dear Smith and Heymann Orthodontics Patients,
We are beyond ready to get back to work and see everyone that we have missed so much! We hope this letter finds everyone healthy, happy and prepared to ease back into regular routines. Much has changed since we saw you last. We are all still coming to grips with the COVID-19 pandemic and events triggered by it. Nearly everyone has been affected in some way by this crisis. We want to update you on our office, it's measured re-opening, and the steps we are taking to ensure we do everything possible to keep our patients and our team healthy.
Since our office temporarily closed on March 17th, Drs. Smith, Heymann, and Skillestad have been very busy working to enhance many of our office systems to offer our patients excellent orthodontic care in a warm, friendly, and safe environment. Our doctors have spent dozens of hours over the past weeks attending webinars and studying guidance from federal, state, and local sources to ensure that we are up to date with the latest information about how to enhance our already stringent infection control standards. We are confident that we are prepared for a safe and measured reopening of our practice.
To that end, we will be reopening on Monday, May 11. We will be following rigorous scheduling protocols and office measures to ensure the safety and well-being our patients, and the team members at Smith and Heymann Orthodontics.
Over the past eight weeks we were forced to cancel thousands of appointments, and we know that there is a strong desire to get your treatment back on track as soon as possible. All of our patients will be rescheduled as quickly as possible, but it will not be as efficient as we are used to in our office. We ask for your continued patience and understanding over the coming weeks.
In an effort to prioritize active patients based on treatment status and urgency of treatment needs, the doctors and entire team have reviewed and established some new scheduling protocols. During this catch up period, we will not have as much flexibility as we would prefer in rescheduling missed appointments and scheduling new ones. Unfortunately, we will have to be very firm in our scheduling protocols in order to serve as many patients as possible. Please do your best to accept the appointment times offered.
We have already begun rescheduling patients on a first-canceled-first-rescheduled basis, which is fair, efficient, and will serve everyone with getting back on track as quickly as possible.
Our office procedures have temporarily changed and will include the following:
Appointments / Scheduling
- Most in-person pre-treatment observation appointments (for patients who are not close to treatment-ready stage) and retainer check appointments will be paused for now. These appointments will be rescheduled when we are back in our regular routine, or may be able to occur virtually.
- We will deliberately limit the number of patient appointments per day below our typical pre-COVID schedules in order to reduce the number of people physically present in our offices at any one time. This is an essential interim step to ensure the safest environment for all patients and team members.
- Please wait for our office to call you to reschedule your appointments. Given the large number of patients who need to have appointments rescheduled, we want to ensure that our team can focus on making these important calls in a systematic manner.
- We will continue to be available to see patients with true orthodontic emergencies that are contributing to pain / soft tissue injury.
- When you arrive for your appointment please follow instructions on signs placed near our office entrances for how to contact our team via text. Please remain in your vehicle until one of our team members responds to instruct you when to come inside where you will be met and escorted to the clinic area.
- Only the patient that is being treated will be allowed to enter the office. The only exception for this will be for very young patients with whom only one parent / caregiver may accompany the patient. Absolutely no other family members or friends will be allowed inside.
- Please bring your own mask or face covering and wear it to your appointment. Federal guidelines for social distancing and wearing masks in businesses continue, so bring the mask you have been using. Unfortunately, in order to maintain our supply of PPE, we are unable to provide masks for patients or anyone accompanying patients into the office.
- Your temperature will be taken by team member using a touchless thermometer. If your temp is over 100 degrees F, you will be asked to leave and not return for the specified 14-day self-quarantine requirement.
- A simple questionnaire assessing contacts, travel, and well-being will be asked of all patients as well. Any patient indicating recent exposure to someone with COVID-19 or having signs and symptoms of the same will be asked to leave, and not return for the specified 14-day self-quarantine requirement. We will send this to patients prior to arrival for digital signature.
- Maintain the 6-foot social distancing guidelines when in the office until seated in the treatment chair.
- The tooth-brushing station will be used as a hand-washing / sanitizing station required of every patient before being seated. No tooth-brushing will be allowed at this time, only hand-washing so please brush before arriving for your appointment.
- The patient restroom will be closed, so please prepare for that before arrival.
- Patients will be seated every-other-chair in the office to maintain social distancing, which is one of the reasons for our reduced patient / day schedules.
- We ask for and appreciate your understanding and patience while we will try to address all of your treatment needs during your visit. Individuals with multiple broken brackets may not have everything completed during this visit due to strict scheduling times.
- Scheduling of next appointments will happen in the clinic area in an attempt to minimize the need for patients to congregate in the front desk areas.
- WE LOVE OUR PATIENTS! We also love to chat with you at your appointment. Please understand that conversations will be significantly reduced to allow for social distancing, running on time, disinfection of treatment chairs and instruments, etc.
- We will not be providing our coffee / tea / hot chocolate station at this time.
- The game areas will remain temporarily closed.
- During these times we will limit face to face interaction with our administrative team members and financial coordinators in order to ensure safety of both patients and team members. Any questions, concerns, regarding finances will be handled via text, telephone, or email. We will make all attempts to handle treatment and financial paperwork digitally to minimize the need to be physically present in the office.
- We will take the temperatures of every team member, including the doctors, immediately upon arrival at work, and after lunch. Any team member at 100 F or above will go home.
- Every team member will answer the health questionnaire that our patients are required to answer, and will do so every day. If any questions disqualify the team member, they will be sent home following the same procedures we are asking our patients to follow.
You may also notice other changes made to ensure the health and well-being of our patients and our team including:
- Our furniture has been rearranged in order to reduce the number of chairs available in the reception area.
- Magazines have been removed from the reception areas.
- Medical-grade air purification systems have been installed throughout our offices.
- Clear protective “sneeze barriers” have been installed at our reception desks and other administrative areas.
We are so grateful for every one of our patients, and this time away has only served to make us even more thankful for each of you. You are the heart of our practice, and this is why we are taking your safety VERY seriously. These remain very challenging times, and we ask for your patience and understanding. Expect that your treatment progress may have been delayed, as has your estimated completion time. We wish that were not the case, but this is an unfortunate reality. Please forgive us as we focus on getting each of you back on track while not exposing our team members or patients to unnecessary risk.
If you have any questions, please feel free to email or call our office. We love all of you, look forward to seeing you soon!
Drs. Smith, Heymann, Skillestad, and team