March 17, 2020

Dear Swan Orthodontics Patients, 

We are beyond ready to get back to work and see everyone that we have missed so much! We hope this letter finds everyone healthy, happy and prepared to ease back into regular routines. Much has changed since we saw you last. Everyone on the planet has been affected by COVID-19. We are all still coming to grips with the pandemic and events triggered by it. We want to update you on our office, it's measured re-opening, and the steps we are taking to ensure we do everything possible to keep our patients and our team healthy. 

While our office has been closed Dr. Swan has been very busy. She personally reviewed each chart for all canceled appointments to determine what steps could be taken virtually, reviewed the photographs submitted by our patients, and gave instructions to the clinical team for follow-up questions and directions. As president of the West Michigan District Dental Society, she stayed in close contact with the Michigan Dental Association to keep the local dental community informed of necessary changes to patient care. This allowed her to quickly implement the new guidance into our office. She also completed over 50 continuing education credits to ensure she stays on the cutting edge of orthodontic practice, and conducted remote training sessions on a variety of topics for our entire team-- all while homeschooling her kids!

Based on Executive Order 2020-96 we plan to reopen to in-person appointments on May 29th.  We will be following rigorous scheduling protocols and office measures to ensure the safety and well-being of you, our patients, and the team members at Swan Orthodontics. 

We ask for your patience. We had to cancel over 1000 appointments, and we know that there is a strong desire to get your treatment back on track as soon as possible. We will eventually, but it will not be as efficient as we are used to in our office. This benefits everyone. We will have to be very firm in our processes and procedures. They have been well-thought-out and reviewed countless times by Dr. Swan and our entire team. 

We have already begun rescheduling patients taking into account urgencies which we were unable to address during the mandated closure to in-person appointments. Aside from these urgent procedures, we will use a first-canceled-first-rescheduled basis, which is fair, efficient, and will serve everyone with getting back on track. Our office procedures have temporarily changed and will include the following:

Appointments:

  • Some observation appointments may be conducted virtually to eliminate the number of patients in the office. We conducted many of these virtually during the office closure, and are confident we can continue this method in certain cases depending on the individual patient’s needs. 
  • There will be fewer appointments available each day. The points outlined below will lend clarity to this decision. 
  • Please wait for our office to call you to reschedule your appointments. We have a very accurate and comprehensive list of every appointment canceled, including the day and time, as well as next procedure needed. 
  • Emergencies will continue only to be defined by pain, swelling, or bleeding. All emergencies will be triaged via virtual appointment before scheduling an in-person visit.  For now, broken brackets and ill-fitting aligner trays do not constitute an emergency. 

Visits:

  • When you arrive for your appointment, please stay in your car. The front door will remain locked. Please park in one of the marked spaces, and send a text to our dedicated arrivals line that includes the patient's name and parking spot number. When we are ready for you, a Swan Ortho team member will be out to escort you to your visit. 
  • Only the patient that is being treated will be allowed to enter the office. The only exception for this will be for very young patients. Of those, only one parent/caregiver may accompany the patient. Absolutely no other family members or friends will be allowed inside. 
  • We ask that you remain in the designated parking spot for the duration of your child’s appointment. Our lobby and reception areas are closed, and they must exit the building at the conclusion of their appointment. For the safety of your child, it is best that they not wait unattended in our parking lot.
  • Please bring your own mask and wear it to your appointment. Federal guidelines for social distancing and wearing masks in businesses continue, so bring the mask you have been using. If you do not have your own, we will provide one; however, personal protective equipment supplies are dangerously low. If we run out, we will have to close the office again until the supply-chain is back to normal. 
  • Your temperature will be taken by staff using a touchless thermometer. If your temperature is over 100 degrees F, you will be asked to leave and not return for the specified 14-day self-quarantine requirement. Please refrain from drinking hot/cold beverages within 30 minutes of your appointment so that your body temperature is not affected, resulting in the need to reschedule.
  • A simple questionnaire assessing your contacts, travel, and well-being will be asked of all patients as well. You will receive this questionnaire the night before your appointment, and again when you arrive. Any question indicating recent exposure to someone with COVID-19 or having related signs and symptoms may be asked to leave, and not return for the specified 14-day self-quarantine requirement. 
  • Maintain the 6-foot social distancing guidelines when in the office until seated in the treatment chair. 
  • The tooth-brushing station will be used as a hand-washing/sanitizing station required of every patient before being seated. No tooth-brushing, only hand-washing. 
  • The patient restroom will be closed, so please prepare for that before arrival. 
  • Patients will rinse with a 3% hydrogen peroxide mouth rinse at a cup at the chair. Rinse 30 seconds and then spit back into the cup where an assistant will suction it. 
  • We are fortunate to have constructed our new clinic to allow for barriers in between the patient chairs and increased distance between chairs. However, the time between appointments will be increased to allow for additional disinfection processes, which is one of the reasons for the reduced number of appointments per day. 
  • We ask for understanding while we will try to address all of your treatment needs during your visit. We are adding time to all appointments to accommodate for unplanned needs. However, even with this extra time individuals with multiple unanticipated broken brackets may not have everything completed during this visit due to strict scheduling times. 

Social:

  • WE LOVE OUR PATIENTS! We also love to chat with you at your appointment. Please understand that conversations will be significantly reduced to allow for social distancing, running on time, disinfection of treatment chairs and instruments, etc. 
  • We will not be providing our coffee/tea station or slushy bar while in this re-entry to normalcy time. 

Team:

  • We will take the temperatures of every team member, including Dr. Swan, immediately upon arrival at work, and after lunch. Any team member at 100 F or above will go home. 
  • Every team member will answer the health questionnaire that our patients are required to answer, and will do so every day. If any questions disqualify the team member, they will be sent home following the same procedures we are asking our patients to follow. 

General:

  • You will find upon arrival that our furniture has been rearranged to allow for social distancing in the event that we are able to reopen our reception area . You'll also notice other changes made to ensure the health and well-being of our patients and our team. 

We are so grateful for every one of our patients, and this time away has only served to make us even more thankful for each of you. You are the life-force of our practice, and this is why we are taking your safety VERY seriously. We would ask for your patience and understanding. Expect that your treatment progress has been delayed, as has your estimated completion time. We wish that were not the case, but it is. Please forgive us as we are focusing on getting each of you back on track while not exposing our team members or patients to unnecessary risk. 

If you have any questions, please feel free to call our office. We love all of you, here's to your health and smile! 

Warmly, 

Dr. Swan, Jamie, Jessie, Shelby, Meghan, Brea, Amanda, Leia, and Meg