With Governor Wolf’s decision on May 8 to move Allegheny County into the Yellow phase, and with newly published guidelines by the Pennsylvania Department of Health, Reed Orthodontics is planning to reopen, reschedule canceled appointments, and begin taking new patients.
The Yellow Phase means continued adherence to social distancing guidelines and the implementation of new health and safety protocols. Based on guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the American Dental Association (ADA) and the Pennsylvania Dental Association, we have developed the following protocols and policies:
- Health screenings. We will complete a health screening form for BOTH patients and visitors prior to an appointment AND on the day of an appointment. Staff will first conduct a verbal health screening during a call to confirm an appointment. Then, on the day of the appointment, patients and visitors must complete an online survey which is easily accessible by smartphone, tablet or computer. No patients or visitors may enter the office without completing the form.
- Temperature screenings. All patients entering the office will have their temperature taken with a no-touch forehead thermometer. Anyone who has a temperature of 100.4°F/38°C or higher may not enter the office.
- Infection control. We strongly encourage all people entering the office to wear a mask. Please bring your own mask as we must conserve Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for clinical care. The doctor and staff will use all necessary PPE during each procedure, according to CDC guidelines. We will also provide hand sanitizer upon your arrival and departure. Finally, we purchased and will use new, medical grade air purification machines to ensure the highest level of safety.
- Reduce the number of people in the office in support of social distancing. In order to adhere to safe social distancing guidelines and limit the number of people in the office at any one time, we will follow an adjusted schedule, utilize virtual appointments and limit who may accompany patients in the office.
- Limited Schedule. We will follow a limited schedule with fewer appointments, which will result in fewer options. As noted before, please be patient as we catch up to accommodate everyone.
- Virtual Appointments. You may be able to conduct your appointment virtually! This allows us to reserve chair time for those with braces or hardware attached to their teeth. We will contact you to see if you are willing to conduct a virtual appointment. Virtual appointments are possible for the following:
- New Patient Exams. The current situation does not mean you should wait to consider orthodontic treatment! Let’s meet virtually to conduct an evaluation and discuss all options.
- Retainer Checks or other observation appointments. We will contact you if you are due for retainer monitoring or growth and tooth eruption observation. Please continue to wear your retainers as directed.
- Invisalign patients. Some Invisalign patients may use a virtual application created by Invisalign (my.invisalign.com) to send photos and a short video of their teeth and bite. Dr. Reed will review this on your Invisalign clinical check. Our office will then mail trays to you to keep treatment moving.
- Visitor restrictions. The best part of our practice is the family atmosphere – we love seeing family and friends during appointments. However, in order to adhere to proper safety guidelines, we will limit the number of people in the waiting area. Therefore, only patients should enter the office at the time of their appointment. Parents, siblings and other visitors should remain outside or in their car during an appointment. Of course, we can make exceptions for young and special needs patients. Please call the office upon your arrival (412.421.8565) to see if and when your treatment chair is ready.
- No in-office teeth brushing. We will no longer offer tooth brushing in the office to prevent cross contamination. Please brush and floss before the appointment.
- Restrictions against aerosol generating procedures. The above governing bodies do not permit aerosol generating procedures, which are the easiest way for coronavirus droplets to spread. For orthodontists, this includes the use of a high speed drill during the removal of braces or Invisialign attachments. Therefore, we will strictly adhere to the guidelines and not utilize a high speed drill. We will contact patients who were due for these appointments and consider other arrangements or alternatives, such as using hand instruments to remove tooth composite. Using hand instruments is not as thorough as rotary instruments, so patients will likely have to return at a later date for the complete removal of composite material.