COVID-19 Updates and FAQs
Our hearts go out to those affected by the Corona, or COVID-19, virus. We not only feel for those directly affected by the illness it causes, but also for those individuals and companies that are impacted by the shutdowns and lack of employment. Our office is no exception to this as we have had to make major changes to comply with the new government regulations. We know that these changes also affect you, our patients, and many of you are asking us for guidance. For this reason we have set up this page to help get the latest information to you.
At Johnsonlink Orthodontics, we remain committed to doing our part in minimizing the spread of the coronavirus that causes COVID-19. As health care professionals, we continue to follow well-researched, scientific public health advice to help limit infections and slow the spread of COVID-19. As we all know, things are always subject to change. However, we are excited to resume seeing patients starting May 26th, 2020 returning to our normal business hours.
Rest assured, your safety and the safety of our dental team is a top priority. We will continue to follow all CDC, ADA and State specific recommendations regarding Personal Protective Equipment and sterilization of instruments, surfaces and workspaces to protect our patients and staff members. We are also taking extended measures to further protect all our patients and team with the following additional protocols:
We are asking all patients who have had any flu-like symptoms or fever in the last two weeks prior to their appointment to please call and reschedule. Please do not come to your appointment if you are feeling ill. Also, if you have had any contact with people who have Covid-19 in the last two weeks we ask you to reschedule your appointment. If you are a healthcare professional who works with Covid-19 patients please let us know so that we can make special arrangements.
Because our toothbrushing stations will not be available for brushing and flossing, we ask that all our patients brush and floss prior to arriving for their appointments.
Whenever possible, we ask that each patient come to their appointments alone. For younger patients we ask that only one parent or guardian accompany them to their appointments. Please bring masks for each person entering the office, including patients.
In order to reduce the number of people in the office, our waiting room, games, and refreshment bar will be closed.
When you arrive at the office a staff member will greet you, check you in, and do a pre-screening, which includes a quick health history update and temperature check. If the clinic is not immediately ready to see you, you will be asked to wait in your car and a team member will let you know as soon as the clinic is ready. Once in the office we will ask you to wear your mask and sanitize your hands.
While in the office you will notice that we have added barriers at the front desk as well as between clinic chairs. Please respect these barriers and keep them between you and the scheduling coordinators and between you and other patients. These barriers are for your protection as well as the protection of our staff and the other patients.
We have added medical grade hepa filters to the clinic to help prevent the spread of airborne viruses. We also have additional training and sanitizing protocols to help keep our patients and staff safe. As always, all equipment and instruments are properly sterilized. Due to the additional protocols, however, appointment times may be longer.
In addition to all the changes above, there are many unseen changes to our office that have been and will continue to be made as new information is available to us regarding the spread of covid-19 and how we can better keep our patients safe. Your health and safety is our priority.
If you had an appointment scheduled during our closure, we are actively working on reaching out to you to get your appointment rescheduled. If we’ve already rescheduled your appointment, we’ll be reaching out to confirm your appointment and advise you of some new protocols we’ve put in place to ensure you and our dental team are protected.
We encourage everyone in our community to continue to take steps to minimize the spread of the virus as dictated by the CDC. If you have a question about an upcoming appointment, please contact us. We look forward to seeing you again in the practice!
ORTHODONTIC TIPS & TRICKS
We are now seeing patients for all orthodontic procedures, not just emergencies, so if you feel you need to be seen please do not hesitate to call us. However, in order to reduce the number of visits to the office, we are providing the following tips and tricks to help patients solve some of their orthodontic emergencies at home:
FOR PATIENTS IN BRACES
If you haven't been following the recommendations for taking care of your braces up to this point, now would be a great time to start. Do everything you can to prevent things from breaking so that you don't have to worry about what to do with a broken bracket or wire. That being said, your comfort is more important than the braces themselves. In general, if there is something you need to do to make yourself comfortable that includes removing or cutting something, we recommend doing it and having it fixed later.
Pokey wires or brackets: Most pokey wires are small and can be made more comfortable by placing wax over the sharp part of the wire or bracket. Roll the wax into a small ball, dry the area to be covered as best you can before lightly pushing the wax into place. We have wax available at our offices for our patients. If you cannot get to one of our offices, wax can also be purchased online (Amazon.com) or from Rite Aid, Walgreens, or other pharmacies.
Small pokey wire on a bracket: Some brackets are tied into the main wire with a smaller wire that is twisted to tighten around the bracket. The twisted ends can sometimes bend outward and poke the cheek or lip. This kind of pokey wire can be pushed in towards the tooth with the eraser end of a pencil.
Broken brackets and long wires: Most brackets that break off of the teeth can be left off until your next appointment. However, sometimes losing a bracket means that a large section of wire is left to scratch and scrape the inside of your cheek. Any long wires can be cut by using nail clippers or wire cutting pliers. If you can see the wire to be cut and have enough room to access it, cut the wire and remove any loose pieces from the mouth.
Large sores, cuts or infections: If a cut or sore is being caused by a pokey wire as described above, it should resolve itself after following the steps above. If it does not resolve or if you have a particularly large cut or sore please call us to set up an emergency appointment. True infections that you feel are being caused by orthodontic appliances should also be seen as soon as possible. Signs of infections can include swelling, pus, and redness. Dental infections that are not related to the orthodontic appliances should be seen by your general dentist.
Active springs: “Bitejumpers” and other springs placed along with the braces continue to be active over time. This means that with longer time periods between appointments they can move your teeth more than the desired amount. If you notice any unusual movements, including teeth being pushed too far in one direction or spaces getting unusually large please call us.
Unusual pain or discomfort: Most patients know that they can expect a certain amount of discomfort during orthodontic treatment. This discomfort can change in location and severity throughout their time in orthodontics. It is also important to note that during these times in particular most people will have a higher amount of stress which can lead to clenching and grinding, causing more pain in their teeth and jaws. However, if you have a severe and unusual amount of pain please call us.
FOR PATIENTS WITH EXPANDERS
Please call us if you are having any issues with your expander or other appliance
FOR PATIENTS IN INVISALIGN
If the amount of time between your appointments has increased due to the COVID-19 mandates, the number one recommendation we have for all Invisalign patients is to pace yourselves. If you do not have enough trays left to last until your next appointment we recommend that you wear each tray for longer periods of time. If you are on your last tray or need to wear a set of trays for longer than 2 weeks you can wear the trays at nights only, after wearing them for at least two weeks full time. This will help the trays last longer. We also recommend that you keep at least two of your most recently worn sets of trays just in case you lose or break a tray and have to go into an older tray. Also, please remember to wash your hands before removing and placing your trays!
Elastics: Unless you have been instructed otherwise or have been told that you will be in elastics for a long time, we recommend you wear your elastics only until the date of your next appointment, even if that appointment has been canceled. If anything has broken that prevents you from wearing the elastics then you will have to stop wearing them until we can see you again.
Broken attachments: Broken attachments may have to wait until your next appointment to fix, however, please call us if something breaks. If you notice that your trays are not fitting as well due to a broken attachment and you are unable to get into the office soon then we recommend slowing down your treatment by wearing each tray longer until we have a chance to fix the broken attachments.
Ill-fitting aligners: If your trays (aligners) are not fitting as well as they used to, we recommend wearing the trays longer and using "chewies" to help seat the trays better. Chewies are small rubbery cylinders that we typically give to patients when their trays need extra help fitting to the teeth. Once you place your trays you bite on the chewies to push the trays into your teeth. If you do not have chewies you can use a clean rolled up cloth instead.
Curb-side service: There are some Invisalign patients who will be able to pick up more trays without having to come into the office. It is important to understand that this does not apply to every Invisalign patient as some patients are due to have attachments placed or other modifications done before more trays can be delivered. If you are in need of more trays and want to find out if you can have more trays given to you curbside, please call our office.
FOR PATIENTS IN RETAINERS
Please call us if you have a broken or lost retainer.
We appreciate your patience as we all work together to get through these uncertain times. Stay healthy and well!
The JLO team