COVID Questionnaire

April 28, 2020

Hi everyone! We are excited to announce the re-opening of our office after the COVID-19 shutdown! We are preparing to re-open our office to patients next week! (I posted a video yesterday with an abbreviated message. This email contains all the details of our office re-opening. Click HERE to watch the video!)

As most of you may know, Governor Ricketts announced the news last week and we have been very busy gearing up. Our plan is to start seeing patients again on Tuesday, May 5th! We are as relieved as you are! We are excited to begin the process of figuring out the new “normal” and getting back to doing what we love to do.

The planning that has gone into re-opening our office has been extremely detailed to ensure the safety of our patients and my team. Getting the necessary PPE (masks, gloves, eye wear) has not been easy, and preparing our office for the “new normal” has taken time.

But, rest assured, we will be ready to see patients next week. We are excited to see you all soon and simply ask for your patience as we get through this. We will be reaching out to everyone affected by our shut down and get you rescheduled soon.

However, keep in mind, things will be different. We have LOTS of changes as a result of COVID-19 and we have outlined it all in this letter.

There is a lot, but trust me when I say it is all very necessary. Please take the time to read this entire message. These changes are for everyone’s safety.

Thank you for your trust in me and my team to take you through your orthodontic journey. We look forward to seeing you all soon.

Warmest Regards,

Dr. Kort Igel
AIRWAY IS PRIORITY ONE

Keeping in Touch with Our Patients

First and foremost, we have been here for you! We have been seeing patients for emergency appointments to ensure everyone has been comfortable since our first closed day. We understand broken appliances and poking wires are not fun and we have seen patients throughout this closed time.

In addition, in an effort to keep treatment plans on track, we have been doing “Virtual” appointments the past three (3) weeks. What that means is all patients in “Active” treatment (meaning in braces, Invisalign or has an active appliance in their mouth) who had an appointment scheduled during our closed time were asked to send us photos. Each day I have been reviewing these photos and my team has been responding with my treatment recommendations – even if it has been to just stay the course. It’s been the perfect solution to an imperfect situation.

THANK YOU to all of you who have submitted your pictures! For those who haven’t yet, please do so at your earliest convenience. 😊

We will continue to offer virtual appointments when we re-open whenever possible. Depending on where each patient is at in their treatment, Dr. Igel may be able to view pictures submitted by the patient, and discuss treatment options virtually. If you are a candidate for a future virtual appointment, we will be reaching out to you.

If my appointment was cancelled in March/April, how do I get rescheduled?

We have been in touch with nearly every patient whose appointment was impacted by COVID-19 in March and April. Many of you received an email from asking you to submit pictures of your teeth so Dr. Igel could evaluate your bite. If you have not submitted your pictures yet, please do so. The more patients we can evaluate virtually, the more we can help keep your treatment on track.

For those who could not do a virtual appointment (bandings, removals, new patient consultations, broken retainers), we are still reaching out to you. We will be in touch this week.

As previously mentioned, we cannot reschedule everyone our first week back in the office. Emailing your photos will allow Dr. Igel to review these after hours while still seeing patients already on the schedule. Thank you for helping us get back on track with sending your pictures if you were requested to do so.

How soon can I get my braces on if my appointment was cancelled?

We are in the process of reaching out to all patients whose appointments were cancelled, this includes those getting started with braces.

We understand that circumstances may have changed for some of you and getting braces at this time may no longer be feasible. We get it.

Please know, we are here for you when you are ready. And if that is now, we can help. We have improved our processes in getting paperwork signed electronically for consent forms, office policies and even the financial contract. This became necessary when we realized we would have limited parent contact in our office once we re-opened.

Our plan to reschedule patients is to start with those who were scheduled on March 17th, then the 18th & so on until everyone has been rescheduled. We appreciate your patience as we reach out to everyone.

How soon can I get my braces off if my appointment was cancelled?

Covid-19 in office precautionsWe are working to get everyone rescheduled soon! We are working on this as you read this e-mail.

We have dozens of patients who have been patiently waiting for this appointment and we will be seeing you all as soon as we can. The issue with taking braces off is not the removal of the brackets, but removing the glue.

We use a high speed hand piece, which can create an aerosol mist. While we have instruments and appropriate suction protocols in place to limit this aerosol effect, using a hand piece creates a risk to others. Mouths contain bacteria and viruses and there is the potential that asymptomatic patients may have unknowingly been exposed to the coronavirus. We WILL begin seeing patients to remove their braces, BUT, with extra precautions.

The first thing we did for added safety was to limit exposure from aerosol procedures by installing partitions between our clinic chairs. These will be cleaned and sanitized after each appointment. This will be no different than our current sterilization protocols.

In addition, we will begin using an extra oral suctioning device for certain aerosol producing procedures for extra protection.

The good news is we have all the safety features in place to begin removing braces for those ready to have their braces taken off. The bad news is we cannot see everyone who missed an appointment in our first week back.

Our plan to reschedule patients is to start with those who were scheduled on March 17th, then the 18th & so on until everyone has been rescheduled. We appreciate your patience as we reach out to everyone.

If I have an appointment on May 5th or after, do I just show up?

Not exactly. For those with an appointment already scheduled in May & June, we are already reaching out to inquire about your appointment preference.

We understand everyone feels different about how to move forward and we want to ensure everyone is comfortable. We want to be flexible for our patients.

We are currently reaching out to these patients to confirm how you would like to proceed.

1. If you wish to keep your scheduled appointment in our office:
We will send you a link to complete a health history questionnaire with 10 questions that MUST be completed the day before the patient’s appointment. This will come to you in a survey where you answer YES or NO to certain questions regarding to COVID-19.

In addition, IF you have anything lose or broken (bracket, band, or appliance), please text us ahead of time, at least one day in advance of your appointment at: (402) 330-1152. This will allow us extra time to adjust our schedule and time to set up to fix this, before you arrive. We would greatly appreciate the heads-up.

2. If you would prefer to e-mail pictures to us for a virtual appointment:
We will send you a separate e-mail explaining which five (5) pictures we will need you to send. Dr. Igel will review your pictures and respond within 24 hours.

3. If you would prefer to delay your appointment a while longer:
No problem. We understand. We will work with you to find another time that best fits your schedule.

Here’s what you should know when we open:

If you requested an in-office appointment, as previously mentioned, you will receive a request the day before your appointment asking 10 questions about the patient’s health and exposure to COVID-19. This MUST be complete before your child arrives for their appointment.

Without this documentation, we cannot keep your appointment.
NOTE: Completing this when you arrive is NOT an option. We need time to evaluate and chart the patient’s responses. IF this is not completed the day before, the patient will not be seen. We apologize for this strict policy, but for everyone’s safety, this is necessary.

When you arrive at our office:

  1. DO NOT WALK INTO OUR OFFICE. When you arrive for your appointment, text us at (402) 330-1152 letting us know you (the patient’s name) are here. We will need a couple minutes to prepare for the appointment and will text you when you can come into the office. If we are checking in other patients, this could take a minute or two.
  2. Only the scheduled patient will be allowed in our office for their appointment. We ask that parents and other family members wait in the car. (The exception to this is if the child patient is a new patient to our office, then one parent can accompany the child to the consultation.)
  3. Our brushing sinks will be closed. Please ensure the patient brushes and flosses before they arrive for their appointment.
  4. One of our clinical team members will meet the patient as they enter our office (one at a time). She will be in full protective PPE – Personal Protective Equipment (masks, gloves, & face shield) for everyone’s protection.
  5. Patients will immediately be instructed to use hand sanitizer.
  6. The patient’s temperature will be taken with a touch-less thermometer. If the patient is running a fever, we will reschedule the appointment for the safety of other patients and our employees.
  7. The patient will be evaluated for flu-like symptoms. If the patient has a runny nose, sneezing or cough, no matter how mild they are, they will not be seen.
  8. Lastly, they will be asked to rinse with a hydrogen peroxide rinse (to minimize the germs). After they rinse, they will be seated in the clinic area.

At the conclusion of their appointment, we will inform the patient of what we did today. If you (the parent) would like an update, we are happy to do so. Just have your child let us know. If your child has a cell phone, please send them in with it and they can call you after the appointment and we will give an update. If your child does not have a cell phone, be sure they know the phone number you want us to call you at.

At the conclusion of the appointment, we can schedule the next appointment for you. If you prefer to call back to reschedule, call us at (402) 330-1152. (We encourage you to call back in the same day as appointments will fill up fast.)

We are committed to keeping you and your family safe. For your peace of mind, please know that our team will be screened just like our patients to ensure they are healthy each day before seeing patients.

We have covered a lot of information, so if you have any questions, please let us know.

We look forward to seeing you all soon AND we thank you for your patience and understanding as we face the new NORMAL together. Stay safe.