May 6, 2020
Dear patients and families of Dr. Tina S. Merhoff and Associates Pediatric Dentistry:
Oh, how we have missed you all these past seven weeks! We hope this letter finds you and your family well and healthy. Since closing our office on March 17, 2020 due to COVID-19, our staff has spent much time preparing for your return, all while practicing social distancing. We have been constantly keeping up with updates regarding the recommendations from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), American Dental Association (ADA), American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD), and NC Board of Dental Examiners, as well as learning the best way to care for our patients and families once we open our practice again. Practicing dentistry and caring for our sweet patients brings us the greatest joy, and we simply can’t find the words to express how excited we are to finally announce that we are opening our doors to see you again.
Although much has changed in our office, many things remain the same – safety first, our commitment to providing excellent dental care, and treating the child as if they were our own. Our office has implemented three phases as we reopen. Our first phase began immediately after closure, seeing patients on an emergency/urgent care basis, as recommended by the above organizations. Our second phase for reopening will begin on Monday, May 11, 2020. During this phase, we will be seeing patients on a modified schedule for dental treatment and care, focusing on patients with more urgent needs and those who were scheduled during office closure. During the third and final phase, with a date to be determined, we will return to our normal, unmodified schedule of all dental care and treatment for all patients.
Our office has, and will continue, to go above and beyond the infection control recommendations made by the CDC, ADA, AAPD, and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). Based on these recommendations, your visit to our office may look a little differently, and we would like to update you on these changes below:
- Our office will communicate with you before your child’s appointment to ask you some screening questions. You will also be asked these questions again when you come to the office for your child’s appointment.
- We ask that you call us when you arrive for your child’s appointment. We will have a specific, designated phone line (336-397-2310) to facilitate these arrival calls. We will let you know if you should come up immediately or if you should wait in your car until your child’s room is ready.
- We ask that only one parent or guardian bring your child to his or her appointment and that both parent and child (ages 3 and over) wear a face covering.
- You will be greeted at a screening station right outside our office door, where you and your child’s temperature will be taken by a hands-free thermometer. We also ask that you use the provided hand sanitizer upon arrival.
- We ask that you remember social distancing guidelines while you are in our office. You are welcome to wait in our reception area (which has been set up to ensure social distancing can be followed) or in your car while your child is being cared for.
- You will notice that magazines, gaming systems, toys, books, blankets, etc. are currently put away. All common areas will be consistently sanitized throughout the day by our team members.
- As always, all treatment areas will be completely sterilized before your child is seated for their appointment.
- For your convenience, all doors throughout our office will be propped open.
- All team members will have their temperatures taken and screened for any symptoms when they arrive to the office each morning.
- You will see our business team wearing masks and our clinical team wearing more advanced personal protective equipment (PPE), dependent on the dental treatment being completed.
- Sneeze guards are being installed at our check out stations to ensure patient, family, and team safety.
- Medify Air Purifiers are being installed throughout the office and in individual treatment rooms to clean the air every 15 minutes. These purifiers can remove particles smaller than COVID-19 viruses from the air.
- An HVAC filtration device, the iWave, is being installed to further ensure clean air in our heating and air system.
- We are installing a Purevac High Volume Evacuation (HVE) System at every dental chair. This is a specialized suction system that helps to reduce fluid and debris created during dental procedures.
From taking your phone call to the time you leave our office, our motto stays the same: “Safety First, Safety Always.” We look forward to seeing you and your family again and are happy to answer any questions you may have these steps we have taken to keep you, and every patient, safe in our practice. If your child had an appointment during our closure, our team will be in touch with you very soon to reschedule. To make an appointment, please call our office at (336) 659-9500.
As always, thank you for trusting us with your child’s dental care needs. We want to ensure you that our first commitment to your family has and always will be safety. We value your loyalty and look forward to welcoming you back very soon!
Dr. Tina Merhoff, Dr. Jennifer Macdonald, and the Dream Team
March 17, 2020
Our office is currently closed to routine and non emergent dental care based on the recommendations of the American Dental Association (ADA) and the North Carolina State Board of Dental Examiners. During this time, our doctors will be on call for dental emergencies and urgent dental care.
The ADA defines a “dental emergency” as uncontrolled bleeding, cellulitis that potentially could compromise a child’s airway, or trauma involving facial bones. Since we treat a pediatric population, we would also classify dental avulsion (or having a tooth completely knocked out) as a dental emergency. These emergencies require immediate treatment. The ADA also defines “urgent dental care” as severe dental pain, abscess or local dental infection, and tooth fracture/trauma resulting in pain or soft tissue trauma. If your child has urgent dental needs, our dental team will discuss the timeline for treatment in order to alleviate your child’s pain and discomfort.
During this time, our dental team will be utilizing “teledentistry” (virtual patient care and education through live video, chat, digital photographs, phone calls, etc) in order to ensure the safety of your child, your family, and our team. Please be advised that there may be a charge for your virtual emergency visit using coding in compliance with the ADA.
If your child is a patient of record and you believe he or she has a dental emergency or urgent dental need, please call our emergency line at 336-448-4124. Please leave a message and a member of our dental team will return your call as soon as possible. Please be advised that messages received after hours may be returned the next day.
If your child is not a patient of record or if your child is being referred by another dentist, you may also use our emergency line at 336-448-4124. Please leave a message and a member of our dental team will return your call as soon as possible. Please be advised that messages received after hours may be returned the next day. As your child is not currently a patient of our practice, you will be required to pay for your virtual visit in full. If you have dental insurance, your insurance company will be billed after the visit and reimbursed directly to you.