Update for May 21, 2020
I sincerely hope that this letter finds you and your family in good health. It has been quite a challenging time these past several months, and we have all had to find ways of remaining safe and in good spirits. It is my hope that amidst the trials of the COVID-19 shutdown, new discoveries were made, old friendships rediscovered, lingering projects completed, and that in some ways we come out of this better than when it began.
One thing has remained the same, however, which is our commitment to your safety. On March 15th, Governor Pritzker and the Illinois Department of Public Health removed restrictions which had limited dental practices to providing emergency dental care only. The lifting of these restrictions has cleared the way for our reopening. With the lifting of the restrictions, additional guidelines for providing dental care were also issued by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the Occupation Health and Safety Administration (OSHA), and the American Dental Association. So, while we CAN reopen, there is an appropriate HOW to reopen. The HOW is so we can assure your safety and that of my team.
Infection Control has always been a top priority for our practice and you may have seen this during your visits. With the CDC and OSHA adding to their safety guidelines, it was obvious to us that we would incorporate these recommendations into our infection control protocol. You will see some of these changes when it is time for your next appointment. For example:
- Someone from our Team will contact you a couple days before your appointment and ask some screening questions. You will be asked those same questions again when you are in the office.
- Appointments will be managed to allow for social distancing between patients. This will mean that we ask you to wait in your car prior to entering the office. We will do our best to reduce any waiting times.
- When you arrive for your appointment, we will take your temperature with a touchless thermometer.
- We have hand sanitizer that we will ask you to use when you enter our office. You will also find some in the reception room and throughout the office.
- We will ask that you wear a mask when in our office. If you do not have one let us know and we can provide one.
- Sadly, for the near future, our reception room will no longer offer magazines, hot beverages, or freshly made cookies. It will serve more as a foyer than a reception area.
- Our treatment rooms will look a bit different and we will be wearing additional Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). Obtaining the PPE has been the limiting factor in our reopening.
- The additional PPE is very warm so we will be keeping our office at cooler temperatures. Unfortunately, we are unable to provide blankets during treatment so please bring along an additional coat or sweater in the event you feel chilled while receiving care.
The office will reopen for care on June 1, 2020. Starting May 26, we will be confirming existing appointments and rescheduling appointments postponed during the shutdown.
We have missed being together in our practice and look forward to seeing you again. We are happy to answer any questions you may have about the steps we take to keep you and everyone who is part of our practice safe.
Thank you for your trust and loyalty and we look forward to welcoming you back!
Dr. Hicks, Tricia, Caitlyn, Margaret, Alix and Helen
Update for March 19th, 2020
As the COVID-19 virus continues to disrupt our lives,first and foremost I wanted to say...I hope you, your families and friends are all safe and healthy. There are many ways to look at our current situation and it is my sincerest hope that we are all finding positive and productive ways to improve our lives, our happiness, our relationships with others.When this is over and done, as it will be, I am confident we will say that we found away to move closer to becoming our “Best Selves.”
As for dentistry, well, that’s on hold. I will always be available for dental emergencies, but routine dental care has been postponed for the time being. The American Dental Association has advised closing dental practices for three weeks,which began this past Monday. They will reevaluate the situation after two weeks and provide further guidance. As the safety of my patients, team, and community are the sole concern,we will continue to follow the recommendations of our health care experts.I am grateful for your patience and understanding and will keep you advised of when we will again open our doors.
In the meantime, I am using this gift of time to review our best practices so that we can serve you even better in the future,as well as catching up on my dental journals that tend to pile up a bit. Not to be boring, I am also enjoying time with my wife Renee, and daughter Isabelle; working on my photography hobby; dusted off my guitar and strummed a few chords with Isabelle who plays Ukulele;played Yahtzee (can’t remember the last time I did that);started running again;and perhaps most importantly, I’m continuing to work on my basement. With Isabelle entering high school, it will be good to have a place for her to go with her new friends (insert the four letter word b-o-y-s here). Please let us know how you are doing and what new and interesting discoveries you have made during this truly unique time.
Please be safe, maintain your social-distancing, wash your hands a lot, and support each other.
Update for March 2, 2020
With the Coronavirus being front page news and reports of an affected patient in the Arlington Heights area, we want to be certain that we play our part in keeping you healthy and minimizing the virus's spread.
While there is currently no vaccine to prevent Coronavirus, the best way to prevent illness is to avoid being exposed. The CDC recommends the following to help prevent the spread of any respiratory disease:
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick or have symptoms
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth
- Stay home when you are sick
- Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue away
- Clean and disinfect surfaces frequently
- Wear a facemask if you have symptoms or might be exposed to others who are sick
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for 20 seconds
- Use hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol when soap/water are unavailable
Symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure. If you are experiencing a cough, fever, and/or shortness of breath please contact your primary care physician for recommendations. If you have a dental appointment scheduled while you are experiencing symptoms, for your safety and that of others, we will be happy to reschedule you to another time.
Brian Hicks, DDS