Frequently Asked Questions
regarding our COVID-19 protocols
What are you doing differently at the office to protect patients from COVID-19?
While the office has always operated high ABOVE the OSHA guidelines and standard infection protocols, we have implemented additional protocols to keep our patients and team safe. Some of the changes include strict COVID-19 patient screening protocols, reducing the number of available appointment times, strict mask and PPE protocols for both patients and team members, HEPA and UV air purification, hypochlorous acid fogging, and measures to reduce aerosolization, such as extraoral HEPA/UV suction devices, close proximity high-volume evacuation (HVE), and rubber dam or IsoDry® isolation used with all restorative procedures.
What are your screening protocols?
Anyone entering the office, including doctors and staff, are required to wear masks, remove any gloves, hand sanitize, measure their temperature and blood-oxygen saturation (which should be below 100.4° F and above 92% respectively), wash their hands with soap and water, and rinse their mouths with a 1% hydrogen peroxide solution.
What if I don't want to participate in part, or all, of the screening?
For everyone's safety, we must strictly adhere to our screening protocols. If you are uncomfortable with any part of the screening process, then we must respectfully reschedule your appointment to a later date.
Do I have to come in for my appointment? How necessary is my dental treatment?
Dr. Baliwas and Dr. Miller have reviewed the records of all upcoming treatment and worked to prioritize based on need and urgency. Our goal is to limit the progression of dental caries and periodontal disease in our patients and prevent larger treatment that can be avoided.
Are the doctors and the staff being tested for COVID-19?
At this time, there is no guidance from the CDC or SFDPH advising preventive testing be done on people who are asymptomatic. Our doctors and team members are screened for symptoms and risk-factors daily, including temperature and oxygen saturation. Antibody testing is available to the team at any time upon request. That being said, our doctors are being tested regularly and have tested negative for both active infections and antibodies.
Do I have to be tested for COVID-19 before my appointment?
No, we are not requiring testing to be done prior to your appointment. Testing is only indicated for people who have symptoms or have had known contact with COVID-19. If you have symptoms or have had known contact with COVID-19, then your dental appointment will be rescheduled, regardless of testing.
Do I have to wear a mask?
Yes. On top of the new SF City mandate, the 450 Sutter Building has a strict mask policy; entrance will not be permitted without one. Within the 450 Aesthetics office, everyone is required to wear a mask in the common areas, patients and team members alike.
Can I wear gloves during my appointment?
No. We are providing Ziploc bags to patients who have chosen to wear medical gloves out in public, and ask that they keep their gloves in that bag for the duration of their time at the office. Our office, along with the CDC, encourages hand washing and sanitation. The skin on our hands is not a route of entry for COVID-19 and the improper use of medical-gloves may actually increase exposure risk, as there is no guarantee your gloves are clean. Unlike your hands, gloves should not be washed, only replaced.
Are you providing masks or gloves for patients?
No. Unfortunately, due to a global shortage in medical-grade personal protective equipment (PPE), we are unable to provide masks, gloves, and/or gowns to anyone other than our staff. Common items like scarves and bandannas can be used as a face cover, and there is no need for the public to wear medical gloves.
What kind of masks are the staff wearing at the office?
The types of masks worn by doctors and hygienists will depend on the type of appointment and the level of aerosolization, but typically, we will be wearing N95 masks or respirators with level 3 surgical masks and/or face-shields over them to protect them from being soiled. Front desk team members will be wearing cloth masks with carbon filters.
Is the building’s parking garage open? What steps are the garage attendants taking to avoid COVID-19 transmission?
Yes, the parking garage is open. All attendants are wearing masks and valet is no longer an option. The attendants will direct you to your parking spot. A new kiosk has been installed to help facilitate payment.
We suggest that patients who use the parking garage enter the building directly onto the 3rd floor. Call or text the office, 415.398.0411, and we can send someone out to open the door for you.