As a support team to health care providers, we are thrilled to be re-opening our clinics across Canada. As always, our commitment to the health and safety of the patients and team members of our partner offices remains unwavering.
Our teams across the Canadian Orthodontic Partners network are busily preparing to get back to work as each province announces the reopening of dental and orthodontic practices following the widespread COVID-19 closures. We are thrilled that we are finally able to slowly begin welcoming our patients, who have been waiting for many weeks to be seen in our clinics. Of course, our eagerness to get back to it will not eclipse our collective duty as healthcare professionals to take all possible precautions to protect the health and safety of our patients, team members, and local communities.
smileSAFE: Safe Yesterday. Safe Today. Planning for Tomorrow.
Over the past several weeks, our doctors and leaders from across Canada aligned with health and dental authorities as we conducted extensive return-to-work planning so that our clinical teams can be fully equipped to implement key enhancements to our operating protocols as we reopen our doors to patients. The outcome of this process was a multi-level risk management framework that will now enable us to quickly adapt and respond to the needs in each province given the local incidence of COVID-19 at the time of opening and the appropriate set of precautions. Should the risk level change over time, we will remain agile to adjust accordingly.
Every team member will complete Canadian Orthodontic Partners’ special smileSAFE COVID-19 training before returning to work. Our teams have always followed strict hygiene and sterilization practices as a matter of everyday protocol, so they were able to take on these new evidence-based measures and training with ease. As additional provinces begin to reopen, each local team will be prepared to adjust to the new ways of doing things. Here are some of our new smileSAFE protocols our patients could see at their next appointment:
For our patients and their guardians:
- Everyone entering the clinic will complete a pre-screening and on-site screening
- Each patient will sign a treatment consent form on their first visit back
- Everyone will be asked to wear a mask and use hand sanitizer as they enter
- Physical distancing will be in place throughout the clinic space
- Tooth brushing will need to be done at home as our brushing stations are closed
- For our teams and clinic spaces:
Our teams will undergo the same pre-screening before entering the clinic
- Acrylic barriers have been installed at reception desks and in other areas where distancing may be difficult
- Depending on the treatment being provided, our clinical team will wear enhanced personal protective equipment (PPE), such as masks, face shields, and in some instances gowns
- We’ve ramped up the cleaning schedule for our waiting area and other common spaces, and temporarily removed shared items such as magazines and game consoles
With so many logistics involved, ongoing communication with both our teams and our patients has been key to a successful implementation. I am so proud of our COP community for embracing these measures as we enter our “new normal.” Of course, we've been preparing for this since the beginning: with universal safety precautions, infection control, and sterilization measures to keep everyone safe. After a very long wait and plenty of smileSAFE preparation, we will finally be able to resume doing what we do best: instilling confidence in our patients with beautiful, healthy smiles.
Dr. Robert Hatheway
Chief Clinical Officer
Canadian Orthodontic Partners