Important Information Regarding COVID-19

Last Update: March 23, 2020

Dear Patients, Dental colleagues, and Medical colleagues,

As Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons, the decision to keep our office open or closed is not easy. Tremendous amounts of information and recommendations have come to us. We recognize that our position in the intertwined healthcare delivery system is important and we plan to serve our patients, referring offices, and our community.

With Governor Abbott’s orders in mind, our practice is committed to serving our community by treating dental emergencies only for the time being.  

We are encouraging everyone to avoid engaging in activities that may results in dental or facial trauma to avoid an unnecessary visit to the emergency room. The worst place to be at this time is at a hospital, especially the emergency room. The most important reason we need to provide services in our offices is to keep those dental problems from ending up in the ER. Visiting the emergency room or hospital might potentially expose you to the virus and will take up a bed and critical resources that are needed elsewhere. 

The emergency room is where they go in our community when the dental community is not available. Our mission to take care of patients with urgent or emergency situations is of utmost importance at this time. Keeping those patients away from the ER is something we do so commonly that we do not give it the credit it deserves. If we are not open, we make the problem worse, not better. The scope of our practice is so varied that blanket guidelines are difficult to design. What we do know is that we keep people out of the hospital on a regular basis. It is not possible to accurately predict which cracked tooth, failed root canal, decayed tooth, or third molar with inflammation will end up with an incision and drainage. So, we just take care of them all every day.

We are closely monitoring the developing Coronavirus situation and are modifying our protocols and procedures in an effort to maximize patient safety and minimize the chance for viral exposure or transmission. In addition to our normally practiced universal contact precautions (e.g. Disinfecting rooms between patient appointments, washing hands with soap/water, gloves/mask use when appropriate etc.) we have now implemented the following:

  • All patients will be screened via telephone or text for symptoms of cough, fever and respiratory systems (such as shortness of breath) as well as travel to and/or contact with any person who has traveled outside United States with in the past 14 days.
  • Consultation patients:
    • for patients 18 and under, only one parent/guardian will be allowed in the consultation room
    • For all other patients, no one will be allowed in the consultation room unless a family member is necessary to facilitate accurate health history gathering
  • Surgical patients:
  • For all surgical appointments, only the patient will be allowed in the surgical room
  • Patient escort will be limited to a maximum of one person per patient. Only one person should accompany the patient to their appointment. Any additional persons or family members will be asked to wait in the car
  • Hand sanitizer will be available for all patients to use at the time of checking in for their appointment
  • We will practice social distancing in our waiting room (6 feet). We will limit persons and traffic in the waiting room by asking each patient to wait in the car until notified that their exam room is ready.
  • In an effort to decrease potentially contaminated surfaces, all magazines and other touch items have been removed from my waiting room.
  • We will be screening patients in the waiting room with a temporal thermometer. Any patient whose temperature is in excess of 99.6 F will be rescheduled. Emergency and urgent patients will be seen on an individually determined basis
  • All patients being examined or treated at our office will be given a mouth rinse consisting of hydrogen peroxide and mouthwash – the Coronavirus is susceptible to oxidative stress and rinsing with hydrogen peroxide is believed to decrease viral transmission
  • OMSNETX employees are being asked to self-screen and stay home if they develop symptoms

VERY IMPORTANT: if you are experiencing a dental emergency and you are also exhibiting symptoms associated with a possible viral infection, please call our office first and we will advise you on the next steps for treatment.

At this time, OMSNETX is planning to continue seeing emergency patients only. We do believe, however, that the coronavirus pandemic is a fluid situation and our response to it should also be dynamic. We will continue to update our patients as our policy evolves. Thank you for your understanding and please let us know if you have any questions.

Also, we will post updates on our Facebook and Instagram pages in order to facilitate transmission of accurate and timely information. Please follow us at OMS of Northeast Texas on both Facebook and Instagram. Our commitment remains to continue providing the highest level of care to our patients and to be a safe harbor for our community members with urgent dental needs even in these extraordinary circumstances. Take care of yourselves and be safe out there!

 

Sincerely,

Kirby Bunel, DDS

Jacob Duke, DDS

Zachary Legan, DDS, MD

Mary Laura Hastings, DDS

Matthew Burks, DDS, MD 


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