Joseph C. DiSano owner South County Smiles says.
From a busy dental office offering multidisciplinary dental care to a silenced and empty space to a grand reopening with new procedures, protocols and hours, South County Smiles has experienced the full range of emotions during the past 3 months. They have been charged to make dramatic changes in their offices to battle the COVID pandemic.
South County Smiles has worked diligently during their time of closure to serve the needs of their community by doing several outreach projects. They provided over 500 surgical masks to those in the community as well as donating Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) to the RI Department of Health. Masks and gloves were distributed to the Southern Rhode Island Volunteers who deliver Meals on Wheels and other supplies to local seniors. The efforts exemplify the passion the team has for their community and neighbors which has recently shifted back to a dental focus as they reopen their doors once again for patient care.
Dentistry is a medical field where the clinicians face an elevated risk of exposure because of the need to use rotary instruments. These instruments generate a spray that contains large-particle droplets of water, saliva, blood, microorganisms, and other human debris as well as aerosols. “South County Smiles has always been dedicated to following all infection control practices making it mandatory that all clinicians and providers are wearing surgical gowns and masks and protective eyewear during any aerosol producing procedure.” states owner Joseph C. DiSano.
Patients undergo a complete screening process prior to entering the office and follow a curbside check in procedure. Text-to-pay streamlines the checkout process, in many cases eliminating it completely. The office has been professionally sprayed with an antimicrobial coating called Microshield 360, medical grade HEPA filtration as well as Ultraviolet Germicidal Irradiation serve to sanitize the office. Functional cosmetic changes to the office such as operatory doors and plexiglass barriers also reinforce the atmosphere of safety and prevention when you walk into the office. “We are focused on disinfecting our waiting room and front desk area on a regular basis, multiple times throughout the day.” DiSano said.
Although the office has remained open for emergency dental care, there is a backlog of patients requiring preventative, general and specialized care. The demand for appointments is so significant that South County Smiles has increased office hours and new scheduling protocols to accommodate patients. They hope that these changes will allow patients and the community to safely return to the dental office to receive necessary oral care.