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Neil L. Starr, DDS, PC

COVID-19 Protocol


Patient Protocol for a Scheduled Dental Appointment:

Download a PDF version of our COVID-19 Protocol HERE

Patient Scheduling:

1.  A Covid-19 Screening Questionnaire will be reviewed via telephone upon scheduling your appointment and again later at the office.
2.  Additionally, we ask that you fill out our new electronic office forms on our website, sign where indicated, and forward them to us. The "patient forms" button above will provide you with instructions.
3.  To respect social distancing, only patients with a confirmed appointment will be allowed to enter the office. We have implemented what we are calling a "virtual" waiting room. This means that we are not allowing any patients to sit in the chairs in our waiting room area prior to their appointments.

Pre-Appointment Protocols:

•  When your dental appointment is scheduled and the procedure requires aerosolization, a prescription for the COVID-19 PCR test or the SARS-CoV-2 RNA test will be forwarded to you by email.

The use of dental aerosolizers including ultrasonic dental scalers and dental handpieces (drills) requires higher levels of evacuation and medical-grade filtration/purification systems that we have put in place in all the dental treatment rooms in our office.

We understand that many of you but not all, have been isolated and are likely negative for COVID-19. However, to create assurance that patients who are having dental procedures are free of infection, we require that they be tested for COVID-19 prior to their office visit. This is based on current CDC guidelines, Washington, D.C. hospital guidelines, and current infection rates of COVID-19 in the DMV region.

Please have the COVID test performed approximately 3 to 5 days PRIOR to your office visit, to ensure that we receive your test results in a timely manner (usually a 24 hour wait period). When ordering the test, start your request for the COVID test with this statement " My doctor has given me a prescription and has referred me for a COVID test". This will alert them to the fact that your doctor has requested the test and so you should not be denied. Don’t forget to take your prescription form with you.

For your convenience, a list of COVID test sites can be provided by our office. Any patient with positive COVID-19 results will be rescheduled.
•  We suggest that you wear long pants or skirts and bring a sweater or jacket with you as the office temperature may be a few degrees cooler, to accommodate our team wearing advanced levels of personal protective clothing.

We ask that you limit the number of personal belongings that you bring to the office. Only a small handbag or laptop bag. Based on the length of your appointment, we recommend that you bring headphones along with your cell phone or tablet, to listen to music, podcasts, etc.…

Day of Patient Appointment Protocol:

•  A precise amount of time has been set aside for your appointment. As such, timely arrival is of critical importance to allow our staff to provide the utmost in disinfection control time between patients and to prevent any situation that would impact social distancing.
•  Now for the physical guidelines, we are trusting that you will honor: Due to the current risks of COVID-19, we request that you do NOT take any form of public transportation to our office. Please arrange for a ride in a vehicle that is "safe" i.e. from someone that you know or trust unless you have no other option. Once guidelines change and a vaccine has been found, this restriction may eventually be relaxed.
•  Once you arrive at our office building, please inform our team via phone or text. We ask that you remain in your car or outside our office building until you receive a call or text from our team to let you know that we are ready to receive you in our office.

If a Parent or Guardian or Caregiver is required to accompany the patient, this should be pre-arranged at the time of scheduling the appointment.
•  Face masks will be required prior to entering the office building and should remain on at all times unless our clinical team has asked you to remove it to begin dental treatment.
•  When you are called or texted to enter the building from the outside, please walk directly to the elevator, take it to the third floor, and go directly to Suite #306. Upon entry, turn to the "Hand Sanitizer Station" at your immediate left and perform your handwashing. Should you need to use the restroom, please do so prior to being called back for your appointment.
•  You will then proceed to our touch-free temperature station where our team member will take your temperature (touchless thermometer) and review the Covid-19 Screening Questionnaire one last time from behind a protective plexiglass shield. We also ask that you check your temperature at home the night before and the morning of the appointment, rescheduling if your temperature is 99.5f or above.
•  You will be directed to a treatment room that has been expertly prepared and disinfected. Our clinical team will be outside your assigned treatment room and will greet you and seat you while practicing best measures.
•  Please wear your mask until the clinical team instructs you to remove it.
•  You will be instructed to swish with a pre-procedural hydrogen peroxide rinse prior to any and all procedures.
•  Your appointment time and length will likely be different than what was arranged prior to the Pandemic. Our state-of-the-art infection control procedures, which include complete fogging of each treatment room with a medical-grade solution of hypochlorous acid (HCOl), adds extensive time to the disinfection process. Our staff members are very knowledgeable and will be happy to answer any questions you may have about our disinfection practices.
•  Your dental treatment will be carried out in a room with advanced medical-grade Level 12/13 HEPA filtration/purification systems, extraoral and intraoral suction devices designed to reduce and prevent aerosol spray and splatter ("aerosolization").
•  Your treatment team will wear special protective clothing at all times which is completely replaced after each patient procedure. This will include advanced protection surgical gowns, surgical caps, surgical face shields, eyewear, N95, and Level 3 masks and gloves.
•  Your dental hygiene "cleaning" and "periodic oral examination" will be performed with advanced diagnostic instrumentation including an intraoral camera, a non-radiation producing cavity detection device, ultrasonic/piezo scalers, and digital radiography. The hygienist will also perform her ongoing oral cancer and periodontal screening during the visit. This will allow the doctors to review and complete your dental evaluation virtually and reduce the number of person-to-person encounters for both the patient and dentist.

Post-Procedural Protocols:

•  Upon completion of your dental treatment you will be asked to don your facemask.
•  You will be asked to remain in the treatment room until the front desk is prepared for your check out.
•  Prior to check out, you will be directed to a "Hand Sanitizer Station". After handwashing, you will be provided with a single-use pre-packaged alcohol wipe, to swab your credit card thoroughly before handing it to the receptionist. When it is returned to you, you will again swab the card with the wipe and use it to open the front door when exiting.
•  Your check out will be carried out in front of a plexiglass barrier for your protection.
•  Pre-payment is an option should you desire to limit your person-to-person interaction. To do so, please call our office prior to your visit to provide us with your credit card information.

Your safety, health, and comfort are our chief concern. So do not hesitate to contact us if you should have any further questions or special requests. Thank you for thoroughly reading our "Patient Protocol for Your Dental Appointment".

Welcome back to our office. We look forward to seeing you soon.

Neil L. Starr, DDS
Amelia L. Orta, DMD


Neil L. Starr, DDS, PC

Washington Office

1234 19th Street N.W. #306
Washington, DC 20036

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