Dear Patients and Families of Hart Orthodontics,
I hope you are all well and enjoying time together with family as we look to the future and moving past the Covid-19 pandemic. We are thinking of you; not a day goes by without me hearing from a colleague to discuss virus progress, remote treatment management, and how and when we will transition our patients back into regular treatment. You are always on our minds.
Our plan was to resume active patient treatment on April 1 as currently recommended by the CDC and American Association of Orthodontics. We had drawn up new office policies, schedules, etc. in anticipation of returning.
Unfortunately, on March 25th Governor Northam and Dr. Norm Oliver, Commissioner of the Virginia Department of Health, issued an Order of Public Health Emergency No. 2 in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. This Order is effective March 25th, 2020 until April 24th, 2020 and may be extended or renewed as the April 24 date approaches, depending on the COVID-19 status. The Order states that any patients having elective dental procedures scheduled during this time should be rescheduled. Recent recommendations made by the VDA Board of Directors on practice closures due to COVID-19 were voluntary and did not carry the force of law. This new Order is mandatory and carries the effect of law. We are legally obligated to follow it.
The Order aims to reduce use of personal protection equipment (PPE) like gloves, mask, gowns, and sterilization equipment to make them more readily available to those in need.
While I do not view regular orthodontic visits to be elective, there is language in the order that suggests that the only appointments that should be scheduled are those that if not satisfied will “cause harm to the patient or negatively affect the patient's health outcomes or leading to disability or death.”
Hart Orthodontics will tentatively plan to resume active patient care on Monday, April 27th. Just prior to that date, we will notify all patients of any updates to our office policies through email, Facebook, and on our website. In the meantime, we will be seeing patients for emergency appointments to manage discomfort and address any issues that arise at home. As previously mentioned, Invisalign and Aligner patients are advised to continue to progress their treatment at home and maintain fulltime wear of their last delivered aligner until they see us again. Those patients who are wearing “rubber bands” or “elastics” – PLEASE! Continue to wear your elastics as prescribed. Stopping your elastics now could result in more time being added to your treatment once we resume care. If you need more rubber bands/elastics please call our office and we can arrange for pick up, or we can mail the elastics to you.
Wishing you all well and hoping you are learning something new and finding happiness during this stressful time.
P. Sheamus Hart DMD, MS