What We're Doing to Keep You Safe
Posted on 11/12/2020
Family Orthodontic Care

This year has been strange and difficult on many levels for many people. All businesses have struggled to get through this pandemic and many won't. Statistically, 50% of restaurants will close. Margins are just too slim. Here at FOC we gratefully never fell into that category, but shutting our offices down for 42 days (for the first time in 54 years!) sure rocked our world. Laying off valuable employees prior to any stimulus packages, the fear of unsupervised orthodontics causing permanent damage to children's teeth, not knowing how long we would only be able to treat "emergency" patients, safely re-opening for the team and our patients. This year has been challenging and full of unknowns.

As we re-opened, we returned to our new normal, with many changes to help safeguard everyone:

-Our Lobby is closed; patients, parents, and families are asked to sit in the car (their own personal waiting rooms).
-Patients are screened and some don't pass... and are politely asked to reschedule.
-Our break room is closed as we can no longer safely eat lunch together.
-Procedures using a high-speed handpiece (generating aerosols and potentially deadly) are performed in an isolated room.

I began dental school in 1987. I was given lots of sharp instruments and was instructed not to cut myself because there was another global deadly pandemic going on: AIDS. It was a blood-transferred virus, not respiratory like Covid, and dentists were at risk. Dental teams had to commit to putting themselves at risk every day in order to provide their service. The cause was initially unknown, there wasn't a cure, and there is still no vaccine. It was baptism by fire for young dental students. The dental community rallied to protect their patients from this deadly pandemic. “Universal Precautions” protected us then, and still protect us today.

We are still living through the AIDS age, and we will find our way through Covid-19. Our commitment to the health and safety of our team and patients has never been greater: screening, social distancing, personal protective equipment, air purifiers, UVC light filters, contact tracing, limiting the number of people in the building. We have re-opened with a will and desire to safely practice our profession. Many businesses cannot. I am grateful that we can, and I take that responsibility very seriously.

While we are trying to limit the number of people in the office at one time to decrease the exposure for our team and patients, our office is NOT closed to parents and guardians. If you need to come in for any reason, you are allowed. While a majority of children can (and did prior to Covid) come in alone, some cannot, or you may wish to be present. We understand and will accommodate you.

Safety is our number one concern and that is not new. HIV/AIDS changed the way dentistry was practiced 30 years ago. Our profession is familiar with learning to do all that is necessary to stop the spread of deadly contagions. And I might add, that dentists have, as a singular profession, been very successful at protecting our patients.

I am honored to be entrusted in the care of other people's children. It is a responsibility that I do not take lightly. We will continue to do whatever is necessary to safely provide our services to Southeastern Connecticut. As the numbers of new Covid cases rise, we may be forced to temporarily shut down our offices again. But our commitment to you, our patient family, will remain our primary concern.

54 years and counting! We will get through this and perhaps be stronger and safer as a result.

-Dr. Jennifer Lowney