Dear Walker Orthodontics Patients and Families,
Late last week Governor Brown lifted her order delaying non-urgent dental procedures beginning May 1st for dental offices that can meet specific requirements. I know many of you have been wondering how this will impact the timing of your next orthodontic appointment and wanted to reach out with an update and some good news!
What has happened so far:
- On March 19th dentists were ordered to stop all non-emergency procedures until no sooner than June 15th and donate all surplus PPE inventory. The goal of this executive order was mainly to conserve and redirect PPE (masks, gloves, gowns, etc.) to front line healthcare workers. The intent was that all available supplies, including what was available to purchase, would go to hospitals.
- On April 23rd, the Governor lifted this order. She announced that dental offices who can meet specific requirements can consider slowly reopening as early as May 1st. These specific requirements were to be developed by the Oregon Health Authority and were not yet available.
- On April 30th, the Oregon Health Authority released the specific requirements dental offices must meet to reopen.
What Walker Orthodontics is doing now:
- Working extremely hard to get the PPE we need to keep everyone safe (it is difficult to obtain and typically on backorder). The PPE we need is very specific and must meet all the requirements — I am not willing to compromise on safety.
- Finalizing all the new infrastructure, protocols and systems that we will need to have in place to enforce social distancing and ensure a safe environment for our patients and team.
The Walker Orthodontics plan for gradual reopening:
- We are working to secure the required PPE and implement the mandatory protocols in our office. Based on current PPE supply lead times, we expect to be able to acquire what we need in about 2 weeks.
- Once we are able to start scheduling appointments, we will begin calling our patients. We will be scheduling on a first-canceled-first-rescheduled basis, which is fair, efficient and will serve everyone with getting back on track.
- 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 eight to ten 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.
- During the transition to in-person appointments, we will continue to facilitate virtual appointments, where appropriate and necessary.
What our patients can do to help:
- You can help us most by simply waiting to hear from us! We want to take care of all of you as quickly as possible. In this new environment, we will need to be focused on distancing and patient care during our workdays. Although we love to hear from you, the fewer phone calls and emails the team needs to answer, the more patients we will be able to see each week.
- Continue to follow my previous guidance and let us know if you are having any problems with your orthodontic treatment. Send us an email — we want to know if there are any issues or problems.
- Avoid breaking your braces (brackets) loose by closely watching your food choices.
- Keep your teeth clean — brushing and flossing like you know you should.
- When we do call you to schedule — be prepared to let us know if any brackets or attachments have been broken loose.
Above all, I want to thank you all for your patience, support, and love during this time. I have had countless conversations with members of our Walker Orthodontics family during this time that have warmed my heart. You have all been wonderful and I am grateful.
We look forward to seeing your smiles soon!