The office was shut down for seven weeks by the State of Texas due to the Coronavirus pandemic. I came up to see emergencies as needed. It was crazy, during the closure about 80% of the patients I saw were not patients of this office. They were new patients that either did not have a dentist or they could not reach their regular dentist during the forced shut down.
We have been open for several weeks for teeth cleaning and all dental procedures. With the seven-week shutdown there is a HUGE backlog of patients. Furthermore, the new emergency administrative procedures hamper our ability to see a full schedule of patients. Currently, we are only operating at about 65% capacity. These extra administrative procedures are in response to Governor Abbot’s Executive Order GA 19. Once this emergency order terminates then my office can go back to full capacity and normal operations. I ask that you have patience with use as we try to get everyone in for their dental and cleaning appointment. I apologize for the patients that have been rescheduled. We have always valued our patients time. That is why this office has never double-booked patients.
Dentistry has NEVER been a hot spot for disease transmissions. Dental offices are leaders in sterilization and infection control.
Ever since the 1980s AIDS epidemic, Dentistry adopted Universal Precautions. This means that everyone in the dental office assumes you are infectious with a disease. Dentist’s have been the leaders in mask, glove and room sterilization for decades. While Coronavirus might be new to most of you, dentistry has been killing Coronavirus (along with other viruses) for a very long time.
This is a picture of our main disinfection chemical we use at the office. Coronavirus is the second virus listed.
Because of the new emergency dental rules, you will have a different administrative experience at the office.
These new procedures include:
- Filling out a Covid questionnaire before your appointment
- Calling the office when you arrive in your car. Staying in your car until we ask you the same Covid questions and asking you to come in.
- Having your temperature measured and using hand sanitizer when enter the office.
- Waiting with your dental provider until the coast is clear. We are trying to coordinate arrivals and departures in order that no patients cross paths.
Because Dentistry is so well versed in infection control, no one at the office is scared or concerned about Covid. These administrative procedures are put in place by the State of Texas. We will be very happy once the emergency rules expire.
We have always operated at the highest levels of sterilization and infection control. In addition to our normal infection control procedure which are above Texas and CDC standards, we have added three new features at our office. I purchased fourteen stand-alone medical grade air filters. These filters will completely cycle over the air in a 17,000 sq ft building in ten minutes. My office is not that large. I will go on record as saying that my dental office has the cleanest air in Pasadena.
Next, we purchased an Ozone generator. The last person leaving the office turns the timer to 10 hours. Ozone kills viruses and bacteria. Viruses are small particles made up of crystals; ozone destroys viruses by attacking the nucleic acid core, thus damaging the viral RNA. After destroying these particles, ozone dissipates and leaves breathable oxygen as its only byproduct
Lastly, I bought a Hypochlorous Acid generating machine and an Ultra-low Volume fogger. Covid-19 is a fragile lipid-enveloped RNA virus that is extremely sensitive to chemicals. The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has created a registered list of confirmed disinfectants for use against the virus. The list currently contains almost 500 chemical products, the vast majority of which can kill the virus in under a minute. There are 6 major categories of approved disinfectants: hypochlorous acid, hydrogen peroxide, quaternary ammonium, peroxyacetic acid, glutaraldehyde, and sodium hypochlorite.
April 2nd, 2020
𝗪𝐞 𝐚𝐫𝐞 𝐚𝐯𝐚𝐢𝐥𝐚𝐛𝐥𝐞 𝐭𝐨 𝐬𝐞𝐞 𝐞𝐦𝐞𝐫𝐠𝐞𝐧𝐜𝐲 & 𝐮𝐫𝐠𝐞𝐧𝐭 𝐩𝐚𝐭𝐢𝐞𝐧𝐭𝐬 𝐨𝐧𝐥𝐲 𝐚𝐭 𝐭𝐡𝐢𝐬 𝐭𝐢𝐦𝐞. This will allow us to care for emergency patients & help reduce the burden that dental emergencies would place on hospital emergency departments.
• Broken tooth
• Painful swelling in or around your mouth
• Pain in a tooth, teeth, or jaw
• Gum infection with pain or swelling
We look forward to returning to our normal schedule soon.
Governor Abbott issued an executive order restricting healthcare professionals and facilities. According to the Executive Order No. GA-09, “beginning now and continuing until 11:59 p.m. on April 21, 2020, all licensed health care professionals and all licensed health care facilities shall postpone all surgeries and procedures that are not immediately medically necessary to correct a serious medical condition of, or to preserve the life of, a patient who without immediate performance of the surgery or procedure would be at risk for serious adverse medical consequences or death, as determined by the patient’s physician;”
“PROVIDED, however, that this prohibition shall not apply to any procedure that, if performed in accordance with the commonly accepted standard of clinical practice, would not deplete the hospital capacity or the personal protective equipment needed to cope with the COVID- 19 disaster.”
Since the Governor is addressing a shortage of hospital capacity, it is imperative that dental clinicians care for emergency patients in a timely manner rather than referring them to emergency facilities. The governor also pointed out in his comments that violation of executive orders could lead to potential fines and even jail time for those who do not comply.
March 19, 2020
Our country is facing a very unique challenge at this point in time. I would like to assure our patients that we are taking this challenge very seriously. Our patients and my team are the most important people to me beyond my family. It is vital that the steps be taken to protect them and that we do our part in quelling this virus outbreak.
Therefore, in accordance with the American Dental Association and the CBC our dental office is closing. We will have shortened hours and will be available for emergencies only. These emergencies include pain, infection and swelling. A lost filling or chipped tooth does not constitute an emergency.
Dental cleanings and basic dentistry will be postponed to a date that we are unsure of at this time.
If you are having a true dental emergency call our office at 713-941-8261. We will still be open Monday through Thursday. However, we have shortened our hours to 9-3.
We will continue to see our emergency patients or those experiencing any kind of dental pain, in order to “flatten the curve” and do our part to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.
We will continue to monitor the recommendations closely and update accordingly.
As healthcare professionals and a small business owner, this is a very difficult decision to make. I am praying for my employees and my patients. However, we want to do our part to help keep the community safe.
Again, we greatly appreciate your continued support and understanding during this difficult time. We look forward to having you and your families return to our office just as soon as possible.
I have been practicing dentistry for 20 years and I have been through many crises including 9/11, floods, hurricanes and other viral instances. My faith in the country tells me we will come out stronger and, hopefully, more united.
Love your families, check on your neighbors, help strangers. We will better if we do.
Yours in Dental Health,
Michael Nugent DDS
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Drs. Nugent and West