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Decorah dental offices are prepared and ready to see patients again

Posted: Thu, May 14, 2020 10:10 AM
Dr. Annie Fencl of Northeast Iowa Pediatric Dentistry displays her new protective gear

After an 8-week mandatory closure, dental offices across the state are now allowed to resume elective dental care as long as they are in compliance with the Governor's proclamation. Decorah is fortunate to have several dental offices in town and it's clear each one is ready, prepared, and eager to start seeing patients again.

West Side Dental - 563-382-3657

Dr. Pete Blodgett says, "We are very excited about getting going again. The Iowa Dental Board issued a mandate as to what it would take to re-open and how we should go about it and we are taking every precaution to keep our patients and staff safe.

We start by screening everyone who works here and comes in as a patient. We ask a series of questions and take everyone's temperature before they enter the building. All staff wear masks and we require the patients to as well, until their dental work is started. We wear gowns, face shields , N95 masks, and gloves when we are working on a patient. We clean and sterilize the room after each patient. We practice social distancing by having a one way traffic flow, and only 8 people are allowed in the waiting room at a time and they must remain 6 feet apart. If the waiting room is full, we ask that patients wait in their cars until we come and get them.

We are slowing down and taking extra time to clean. Patients have been very understanding with delays and realize that things are just going to take more time. We have been able to acquire all the PPE (personal protective gear) that is required by the Iowa Dental Board to re-open and are starting slowly to see patients again. We feel this is a very safe place to visit."

Northeast Iowa Pediatric Dentistry - 563-382-6259
Dr. Annie Fencl says, "I can't wait to see our patients again...and of course I'm excited to do what I love again -- alleviate pain and help educate and motivate children and parents about their oral health.

Many of the dental guidelines for reopening were only decided upon by the Iowa Dental Board last week. That hasn't left offices with much time to prepare our patients for the numerous changes in dentistry due to COVID19. That being said, the majority of parents have had no problems with scheduling appointments now that offices are allowed to be open again. I think a large reason for this parent acceptance is that in a short amount of time, we've worked hard to create tools/documents/graphics for parents (and children) to know what to expect. We have worked very hard to communicate the changes we have implemented and our plan for keeping parents and patients safe. That has reassured parents and made them more comfortable with coming back to the dentist. That being said, if a parent or caregiver is not quite ready to schedule an appointment, we absolutely understand. We want families to do what they feel is best for them.

I think people should be reassured to know how much the local dental offices (general practitioners and specialists) have been working together to determine the safest ways to reopen our offices. Patient safety is our #1 priority, and I'm proud of how collaborative and diligent our Decorah dental community has been in taking the steps to re-open."

Dental Associates of Decorah - 563-382-2441
According to the Dental Associates Facebook page, "Dental Associates has officially reopened! We are very excited to be able to start treating patients again after our temporary closure. However, things have changed in our office.

Here are some of the things you can expect:
1. All appointments will be confirmed via a phone call at which time you will be asked COVID-19 screening questions.
2. Screening will be repeated upon arrival at our office, including a temperature reading. Temperatures ABOVE 100.0 degrees Fahrenheit will result in a postponed appointment.
3. If screening results in identification of risk factors for COVID-19, the appointment will be postponed.
4. Please wear a mask to your dental appointment.
5. We ask that you come alone to your appointment. We understand there are special circumstances. If somebody must accompany a patient to an appointment, please contact us to coordinate the necessary safety measures ahead of time.
6. We WILL look differently, as we are required to wear additional PPE (personal protective equipment).
7. The flow of appointments may look different as we take measures to maintain the highest possible level of infection control. Please have patience during this time."

Moellers & Mollers Family Dentistry - 563-382-4302
Eric Moellers says, "We will have a "Grand Re-opening" on Monday, May 18th. We are using this week to train our team on new policies and procedures that have been put in to place in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

We will be seeing fewer patients at a time and will have fewer providers here at a time as well. All patients will be given a call two days prior to their appointment for a quick screening (ie "Do you have fever?"..."Have you traveled recently"...etc.). All patients will be asked to wear a mask when visiting our office and patients and staff will have their temperature taken with a touchless forehead thermometer. Anyone with a temperature greater than 100℉ will be asked to go home.

Our office will comply with all FDA, CDC, EPA, Iowa Dental Board and State guidelines. We will be wearing scrub caps and new gowns for every patient and will also be wearing respirators and face shields. We will be installing air filters and have purchased a UV light box to decontaminate our instruments. Finally, all patients will be asked to rinse with a hydrogen peroxide mouthwash prior to all procedures."