Dear Walker Orthodontics Patients and Families,
A couple of weeks ago, I sent an email that outlined some of the steps we were taking to prepare for reopening. My team and I are beyond excited to get back to work on your smiles! As we begin our gradual reopening, I want to update you on what to expect at your next appointment and the steps we are taking to keep our patients and team healthy.
Scheduling your next appointment:
- We will be scheduling on a first-canceled-first-rescheduled basis, which is fair, efficient and will serve everyone with getting back on track.
- Please wait for our team to call you to reschedule your appointment(s).
- We will only be scheduling one week at a time, at least at first. This means that we anticipate that we will be able to contact all of our patients in the next seven to nine weeks. Rest assured we have everybody on our list and your spot in line is saved — we will call you when it’s your turn.
- Our hours will be extended in an effort to see as many patients as possible, given the mandatory safety protocols that will limit the number of people in our office at any one time. With the volume of appointments we have to reschedule and this new “socially distant schedule” we ask for understanding and flexibility if your perfect appointment day and time are not available.
- We understand many of our patients are concerned about not having been seen in our office for some time. We empathize and will be working very hard to catch up. Expect that your treatment progress has been delayed, as has your estimated completion time. We wish that were not the case, but in most cases it is. Please forgive us as we are focusing on getting each of you back on track.
- When we call you to schedule, be sure to let us know if there are loose brackets, buttons, appliances, or attachments — these types of repairs must be scheduled at specific times. It is very important we know ahead of time in order to be able to complete a repair for you.
- We will continue to facilitate virtual appointments, where appropriate and necessary. Certain appointments, like growth observation, retainer monitoring, aligner progress checks, etc. are amenable to virtual appointments.
- Emergencies will continue to be defined by bleeding and pain (loose brackets, broken wires, irritating aligner attachments or wires, do not constitute an emergency).
- Continue to follow my previous guidance and let us know if you are having any problems with your orthodontic treatment. Send us an email — I want to know if there are any issues or problems so we can address it and find a solution together.
- If you or a family member have underlying medical conditions that put you at higher risk for complications from communicable diseases, please let us know when scheduling your appointment.
Preparation for your appointment:
- Complete your Wellness Screening and Treatment Consent Form — we will send you a text and email with the link. This digital form must be completed prior to your appointment time for EACH visit in our office. When possible complete this form the same day as your appointment — up to 24 hours prior to your appointment is acceptable.
- Brush and floss your teeth well before you arrive. If your teeth are not clean, your appointment time will be spent reviewing oral hygiene instructions. Our toothbrushing station has been closed and transformed into a hand-washing/sanitizing station.
- Bring your own mask and wear it to your appointment. Anyone entering our office must be wearing one. If you do not have your own, we will provide one; however, PPE supplies are dangerously low. If we run out, we will have to close the office again until the supply chain recovers.
Appointments — what to expect:
- Please arrive 5 minutes early — late arrivals will, unfortunately, need to be rescheduled.
- When you arrive for your appointment, please call us at 503-579-2495 and stay in your car or outside on the benches in front of our building. We will give you instructions and greet you outside the office.
- Anyone entering our office will have their temperature taken using a touchless thermometer and be instructed to apply hand sanitizer.
- Our reception area will be closed.
- Only the patient that is being treated is permitted in the office. We will make exceptions for our younger patients or those who need special assistance. In that case, one adult may accompany the patient — please no siblings or other guests. Please complete your own Wellness Form.
- Maintain the 6-foot social distancing guidelines when in the office until seated in the treatment chair.
- Our in-office restroom is temporarily closed. Public restrooms are available in the building, adjacent to the stairs on both floors 2 and 3.
- Patients undergoing certain procedures may be asked to rinse with a 3% hydrogen peroxide mouth rinse at the chair.
Keeping our patients and team safe:
- We have reduced the number of patients seen in a day by approximately 50% to maintain social distancing. Patients will be seated as far apart as possible.
- All team members, including myself, will complete a Wellness Screening Form and have our temperatures taken each morning.
- We have made some modifications to our furniture to promote social distancing.
- In addition to our already rigorous sterilization and disinfection program that has always exceeded CDC and OSHA guidelines, our team has undergone extra training to safely work in our new environment.
- We will look a little different — expect to see us wearing some new gear! Depending on what procedure you are having done, the specific PPE we wear will vary. Rest assured our team will have the full protections recommended by our regulatory bodies. If your child is young, perhaps take a few minutes to talk with them about PPE and look at a few photos of people wearing PPE like face shields and respirators.
- Procedures generating dental aerosol (removal and placement of braces or aligner attachments are the most common) will be limited to the end of the day only, and with no other patients present. Special PPE and measures will be required during these procedures.
Again, I want to thank you all for your patience, support, and love during this time. Please do not hesitate to reach out with any questions about our new health and safety policies.
We look forward to seeing your smiles soon!
-Dr. Camille Walker