Blog | ARIA PERIODONTICS
  • Dr. Matthew Korn

On behalf of the entire team at Aria Dental Implants & Perio, we hope you are staying healthy during this challenging time. I am pleased to report that the investment we made in operational changes during April and May are paying off handsomely in allowing everyone to feel safe and protected while receiving dental care in our offices.

I'm reminded of an important message I sent to our valued patients in 2007. By the end of that year, the housing bubble had burst, and sadly, there had been 2.2 million home foreclosures. The ripples went through the entire economy and affected the stock market and retirement savings. As a result, significant dental expenses had to be put on hold. As I met with my patients and that time, I could intuitively sense their financial concerns and struggles. I made a decision to have the “difficult conversations about the obvious” with my patients. Many of my patients were either beginning or were in the midst of significant reconstructive cases, and most had to be “paused” for understandable economic reasons.


I remember how many patients were genuinely surprised that I would offer to pause with and for them! A few patients shared how they felt embarrassed by having to pause, so much so that a few told me they thought they might not feel welcome to stay in my practice unless they continued with the existing plan. I'm so glad I made a decision to ask every patient, “Does the current economic situation require you to pause your treatment?” Many patients answered, “Yes!” My routine answer was, “Lets pause your treatment and keep you in the safety net!” My hygienist’s operatory is that safety net.

Periodontitis is a painless and progressive disease that eats away the foundation of the teeth. Its like a train driving down the tracks. It does not care if there is an economic crisis or a pandemic. Its relentless. The worst thing a periodontal patient can do is not see a periodontist! The journey to periodontal Healthville is like a train moving in the opposite direction. There are many safe places (small towns) to stop along the way. Each small town on the journey has a qualified hygienist to help maintain the health you’ve fought hard to achieve. When the vaccine arrives, everyone can get back on the train to the big city of Healthville!


The message I hope every patient can hear is that we are here and open for business. It is safe to see the dentist, and your dental health depends upon it. If you need to pause for any reason, please allow us to help you find a safe place to rest while we wait this pandemic out. We are all in this together!

Best of Health,


Dr. Matt

  • Dr. Matthew Korn

Training and Educating Our Team

Our office has been transformed to make our work environment as safe as possible to treat periodontal disease. I am incredibly proud of the effort my team and I have made to learn as much as possible about preventing transmission of the coronavirus. The following is a brief list of the work we have done to date:

· We had refresher training in proper hand washing techniques. This may seem basic; however, it is the most important thing we can do to prevent spread of the virus. Consequently, we have spent a lot of time ensuring that our team does it well and often, especially before and after every patient encounter.

· We practiced the appropriate use of personal protective equipment (PPE) prior to caring for a patient to prevent contamination.

· Team members who are not feeling well are asked to stay home.

· All team members have their temperature taken at the beginning of every day and we will immediately dismiss anyone with a fever (100.2 F and above).

· We limit the numbers of team providing their care to facilitate social distancing within the office and among team members.

· We have created a specific checklist of recommendation for our team to follow so that they arrive to work healthy and go home to their families without worry. (see Checklist of Recommendations for Our Team)

Recommendations for Our Team

Before coming to work our entire team is honoring the following guidelines…

· Take temperature (do not go in to work if you or any other family member are experiencing symptoms; cough, sore throat, fever…etc.)

· Remove watch and rings and leave at home.

· Tie hair up, keep nails short.

· Avoid extra accessories.

· Place phone in a Ziplock bag that you will discard at the end of the day. No cell phone use at work.

· If bringing a lunch, place in disposable wrapping.

  • Bring work clothes in a washable bag (i.e. pillow case).

  • They have practiced the appropriate use of personal protective equipment (PPE) prior to caring for a patient to prevent contamination.

Upon arrival at work, our team…

· changes into scrubs and work shoes (preferably plastic and wipeable) as soon as you arrive (shoe covers are on their way!).

· Uses PPE as appropriate (N95 masks, disposable gowns, head covering, face shield)

· Leaves all clutter (pens, phones, etc.) outside of patient op rooms

· We discourage workers from using other workers phones, desks, offices and other work tools and equipment when possible.

After work, our team…

· Washes hands and arms.

· Removes scrubs and place in washable bag or leave at work.

· Washes hands and put clean clothes on.

· Sanitizes phone, glasses, etc.

· Washes hands again

Upon arriving home, our team…

· Removes shoes and clothes

· Wash clothes/scrubs in washing machine with detergent and hot water

· Shower immediately with soap and water before touching anything (including loved ones)

Recommendations for our Patients


Please note: We are lightening our schedule to see one patient at a time. As a result, the entire team is dedicated to preparing for your appointment. This time is reserved exclusively for you. All appointments are considered confirmed when scheduled.

Before you arrive for your appointment, we will…

· Ask you to call MacKenzie to reschedule appointment if you have had symptoms of infection within the last two weeks (dry cough, sore throat or fever).

· We ask that you call the office at (916) 446-9100 or text when you arrive and wait in your car. A team member will greet you in the parking area.

· As rapid testing evolves, we may ask you to arrive early enough to administer a screening test before leaving your vehicle.

To honor social distancing guidelines while in the office, we will…

· prioritize high risk patients (immune compromised) or patients 60 years of age or better with early morning appointments.

· Extent appointment times to minimize or eliminate patient to patient contacts. (A maximum of two patients at a time).

· utilize a “virtual waiting room”: patients and guests are asked to wait in their car or outside the office where they can be contacted by mobile phone at their appointment time.

Safety measures taken upon arrival you will notice…

· One point of entry to the office. Please park in the garage and use the garage entrance.

· Building entrance and suite door will be propped open to eliminate contact.

· Visual alerts (e.g., signs, posters) will be placed at the entrance door advising patients of the Coronavirus risk and advising them not to enter the facility when ill.

· Masks and tissues are made accessible immediately upon entry and instructions are provided on how to use tissues to cover nose and mouth when coughing or sneezing, to dispose of tissues and contaminated items in waste receptacles.

· supplies such as alcohol-based hand rub (ABHR) with 60-95% alcohol, tissues and no-touch receptacles for disposal, at the entrance, in waiting rooms and at front desk.

ALL these measures can help to prevent transmission to others.

Measures Upon Arrival

Patients are

· Immediately escorted to a hand washing station

· Asked to rinse with 1% hydrogen peroxide for 30 seconds before each appointment

· Escorted into an examination room as quickly as possible upon arrival to avoid lingering in front office.

· Asked about the presence of symptoms of a respiratory infection and history of travel or contact with possible Corona Virus patients.

· Assessed for respiratory symptoms and fever (with a non-contact digital infrared forehead thermometer) and they will be asked to sign a health declaration form.

· If fever temperature of 100.2 degrees F or higher or respiratory symptoms are present, they will be advised to seek medical treatment and their visit will be rescheduled.

· As testing for the virus becomes more available, we will be incorporating this added benefit to screen patients.

Measures Taken Upon Patient Entry to the Clinic

· If an examination room is not readily available, ensure social distancing in the waiting room by placing seating a minimum of 6 feet apart.

· Remove all clutter and anything that is not easily disinfected from the waiting room (magazines, area rugs, pillows, toys, etc)

· Cover all furniture which cannot be disinfected with disposable covers (including chairs and couches) which will be replaced after each patient

· Frequent wipe down of waiting rooms, bathrooms, door handles, tables, light switches, computers…etc.

Reception Room and Front Desk Safety Measures

· Headphone use is encouraged, so hands are free and only one person uses it.

· Place air-handling systems (with appropriate filtration, exchange rate, etc.)

Protocols of the Clinical Team

We adhere to usual standard and transmission-based precautions in operatory but with greater attention to detail and ensure that procedures are followed consistently and correctly.

Furthermore, we will employ an additional team member/ assistant whose main focus is only on sterilization. This team member will be responsible for cleaning, sterilizing, disinfecting and wiping down everything in the operatories and in the waiting room; chairs, handles, light switches, tables…etc. on a regular basis.

Virtual appointments, especially post-operative appointments will be employed wherever possible.

Hand Hygiene is performed by our team

· Before and after all patient contact, contact with potentially infectious material, and before putting on and after removing personal protective equipment (PPE), including gloves.

· After removing PPE in order to remove any pathogens that might have been transferred to bare hands during the removal process.

· Washing hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds

Personal Protective Equipment

· Wear PPE (masks, gloves, cap, eye protection, face shields, gowns (N95 masks when around confirmed cases)

· Masks are one time use and replace if soiled

· N95 respirators are used when performing or present for an aerosol-generating procedure.

Eye Protection

· Wear goggles or a disposable face shield that covers the front and sides of the face) upon entry to the patient room or care area.

· Reusable eye protection (e.g., goggles) must be cleaned and disinfected according to manufacturer’s reprocessing instructions prior to re-use.

· Disposable eye protection should be discarded after use.

Gloves

· Put on clean, non-sterile gloves upon entry into the patient room or care area.

· Change gloves if they become torn or heavily contaminated.

· Remove and discard gloves when leaving the patient room or care area, and immediately perform hand hygiene.

Gowns

· Put on a clean isolation gown upon entry into the patient room or area.

· Change the gown if it becomes soiled. Remove and discard the gown in a dedicated container for waste or linen before leaving the patient room or care area. Disposable gowns should be discarded, and cloth gowns should be laundered after each use.

· Gowns should be prioritized for all aerosol-generating procedures and during activities where splashes and sprays are anticipated.

Shoe Covers

· These will be worn over running shoes unless team is wearing plastic shoes that can be wiped down and disinfected

Patients in the Operatory

· Health care personnel (HCP) will strictly follow basic infection control practices between patients (e.g., hand hygiene, cleaning and disinfecting shared equipment).

· Limit transport and movement of the patient outside of the room

· Consider placing x-ray equipment in patient operatories to reduce the need for patient transport.

· No other team member should enter the room during a procedure and if necessary, should use PPE as described above.

· Room doors should be kept closed except when entering or leaving the room, and entry and exit should be minimized.

· Once the patient has left the operatory refrain from entering the op until sufficient time has elapsed to remove potentially infectious particles.

· After this time has elapsed, the room should undergo appropriate cleaning and surface disinfection before it is returned to routine use

· Special precautions will be taken when performing Aerosol Generating procedures (AGP), in particular, procedures that are likely to induce coughing are avoided if possible.

· Patients undergoing aerosol-generating procedures are in a separate op.

Protocols After the Clinical Treatment

· All non-disposable medical equipment used for patient care should be cleaned and disinfected according to manufacturer’s instructions.

· Ensure that environmental cleaning and disinfection procedures are followed consistently and correctly.

· Routine cleaning and disinfection procedures (e.g., using cleaners and water to pre-clean surfaces prior to applying an EPA-registered, hospital-grade disinfectant to frequently touched surfaces or objects for appropriate contact times as indicated on the product’s label) are appropriate for SARS-CoV-2 in healthcare settings, including those patient-care areas in which aerosol-generating procedures are performed.

· We are also in the process of purchasing a mobile, self-contained germicidal cleaning device that uses proven ultraviolet emitting radiation technology to help reduce and eliminate bacteria, viruses and other pathogens on environmental surfaces and is approved by the FDA.

Safety Measures After the Visit

· Encourage payment by credit card over the phone to encourage social distancing with front desk

· Review of estimates and insurance forms can be carried out via phone call or video conferencing and sent via mail

· Patients wash hands before leaving.

At the End of the Day

· A special cleaning crew has been hired to clean and disinfect the office from top to bottom in preparation for the following day.


Our team is confident that these guidelines will help to create a safe environment for both patients and team members and are intended to provide a sense of security. We will continue to monitor the CDC recommendations and swiftly implement any new recommendations.



Updated: 6 days ago

Some years ago, I made a decision to move from offering patients only the care I thought they needed to offering patients the care they asked for or wanted. This may sound like a semantic twist of a word game, yet I can assure you the results of setting this intention have been profound for many patients. 


A few people, when they need a new car, take inventory of their bank account and purchase something that fits their needs or values. Whether the car is new or used, luxury or economy, many choices abound. Most people, I suspect, check their monthly budget and borrow a little more to own the car theywant. Regardless, people are always aligning their wants and needs with their most important values. Are we intentionally offering patients what they need? What they want? Both? There is no wrong answer, but it makes sense to have great financing if we are going to offer patients what they want. Financially speaking, according to Frank Spear, some of our patients who highly value their dental health are making a dental care investment that is similar to the financial outlay for a car.


In my dental practice, I believe a fair fee is a fee a patient can pay with gratitude. Many patients enter my practice believing they can only afford a denture or a removable partial denture. I routinely see patients with very modest incomes and thus modest monthly budgets receive beautiful, long-lasting, implant dentistry. I've asked patients if the financial investment that allowed them to return to dental health was important to them. All of them, including one whom I suspect might be a billionaire, responded, “Yes, of course.” For this reason, we offer Care Credit, and we might even extend in-house payment plans, if it makes sense. We offer financing to assist our patients in receiving the dentistry they want.


There is no substitute for a highly effective financial coordinator who can have honest, heart-felt conversations with patients about the financial investment it takes to receive beautiful, durable dentistry. My financial coordinator, Tina Melin is just that sort of person. She has a really great way of relating to patients, because she treats them like family. After all, they ARE family. Far more importantly, she has a tremendously healthy relationship with money, and she values great dentistry. When I hear her discussing the financial investment with patients, I mostly hear her repeating what she heard the patient values. She understands their fears of debt and repayment and whether the treatment is predictable or not. She understands their hopes and dreams. She understands because she listens like a professional, and she cares about them as people. 


If you are a patient of my practice, you have no idea how blessed you are to have her here to help you afford the dental care you want. If you are a referring dentist, know that your patients will be given options to help them to afford the care they want, and in turn, you will be able to do your finest dentistry for them. I consider it to be a privilege to serve every patient, each referring dentist and my beautiful team.



TEAM MEMBER HIGHLIGHT !

Tina Melin Financial Coordinator

My name is Tina Melin. I love big healthy smiles! When someone smiles or laughs without hesitation because they have confidence in their smile it truly is a smile from the heart. While being in dentistry for over 25 years, I have been blessed to be a part of giving many people the gift of a beautiful, healthy, and functional smile. I have worked as a dental/surgical assistant for most my career. While I felt proficient working chair-side, I did not have a true understanding of the financial investment that these patients are making. The turning point for me for making the transition from the clinical side to the administrative side, was when I looked at the actual cost of a treatment plan that was for a full mouth rehabilitation. That really hit home for me. I appreciate the tremendous investment in training

made by a dentist and the clinical team. I also understand the time, talent and organization required to bring a complex case to reality. Helping patients afford the financial investment puts a smile on my face. My goal is to truly connect with patients, generously listening for what they value. I love to watch the feeling of empowerment develop in a patient and blossom when they complete treatment. I want patients to know that I understand them, so they can have the dignity of paying with gratitude. I consider it a privilege to serve every patient.  



Happy 4th of July!

Dear Patients & Colleagues,

Happy 4th of July to you and your families. We at Aria Dental Implants & Perio thank you for your dedication and commitment to a service of excellence. We appreciate your partnership and continued referrals. Celebrate America and family! Sincerely,  Dr. Matthew Korn and Team.

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