COVID-19 FAQ guide for Orthodontic patients

By March 19, 2020 May 15th, 2020 Blog, Community

Dear JKO Family,

During this fluid, changing situation, you probably have some questions about the COVID-19 pandemic and how it might affect your orthodontic treatment. Team JKO has put this FAQ together to help you with some of the questions you might have so that you feel comfortable. As always, the team at Jeffrey Kwong Orthodontics is here to support you and will find ways to build value and provide you with outstanding care.

How long will the office be closed?

*UPDATED* May 15th at 8:04 am – 

We’re reopening on May 18th! Find out more here.

*UPDATED* March 26th at 7:52 pm –

The California Dental Association has recommended we continue to see patients on an emergency basis until further notice.

Our team will be available by phone and email from 8am-5pm Monday – Friday. As per usual, I will be available over the weekend, so please feel free to call our office number for instructions, should that be necessary. To help keep our phone lines open to handle patient concerns, we ask that you email our team at [email protected], for the fastest response.

Why can’t I be seen for my regular orthodontic visit?

COVID-19 has been declared as a pandemic. The California Dental Association (CDA) the American Dental Association and the White House have made recommendations that elective procedures be rescheduled, and to only see emergency appointments that might involve severe pain and/or risk of infection. By doing this, we can help alleviate the burden on hospital emergency departments. We are doing this for your safety, our team’s safety and for the safety of our community and loved ones. Elective procedures are those that do not involve treating a medical emergency to preserve life.

How should I proceed if I am wearing braces or an appliance?

With the time off from school, this is a great opportunity to brush up on your skills (you see what I did there?). Practice good oral hygiene by brushing and flossing after your meals. Also, remember to check out our website to review what kinds of foods are more likely to cause breakage of appliances. If you’re supposed to be wearing elastics, continue to do so as directed so that you can keep on track for getting your braces off. If your bite is feeling off, please feel free to take some photos so that we can check in with you. Your braces and wires will continue to straighten your teeth all day and night. Once we’re able to see you again, we can continue to advance your treatment.

What should I do if I’m wearing Invisalign aligners?

The most important parts of aligner treatment are 1) the plan put forth by the doctor and executed by the lab, and 2) compliance with wearing your aligners. Since the first part has been taken care of, progress will continue to be made if you are wearing your clear aligners as instructed. This means 22 hours a day of aligner wear, as well as doing your bite squeeze and hold exercises to seat the aligners (pay particular attention to the areas where there is space between the aligner and your teeth). Do these exercises for 10 minutes, and each time, bite and squeeze into the bite stick for 5-10 seconds. Think of it like massaging the aligner onto your teeth; there are generally some teeth that need a little more massaging.

If you no longer have aligners to continue to your next week, it is perfectly fine to reduce your last aligner wear to a holding phase of 12-16 hours per day to ensure that your teeth stay in position and make your aligner last longer. Keep your aligners clean and avoid all drinks other than water while wearing them. When our office reopens, we will make a new digital scan for new aligners.

It’s easy to forget to wash your hands before wearing and removing your aligners and elastics, so let’s start some good habits and wash your hands before you put them in and after you take them out.

What should I do if I am scheduled to start my Orthodontic treatment?

We are excited for all our patients to start their smile journeys, and look forward to being a part of your smile transformation. We are optimistic that this change in our schedule will be a short one. When this situation has stabilized, we’ll be ready to start your journey together!

What about getting my braces or Invisalign attachments off?

Although routine Orthodontic care is very safe for patients and our team members with standard precautions for protective equipment, disinfection and sterilization, removal of orthodontic bonding materials and cleaning the teeth afterwards produces aerosols that contain biological material. Currently, the CDC thinks that COVID-19 is spread via respiratory droplets and aerosolizing biological material could be risky. Deferring the removal of braces is a good practice at a time like this, when much is being done to prevent the spread of the virus. Please continue to brush and floss thoroughly to maintain your dental health and prevent white scars on the teeth as we await the passing of this situation. We will reschedule the removal of your braces or attachments when we are advised that it is safe to do so.

I have a routine monitoring appointment upcoming (retainer check, growth monitoring, recall examination, or new patient consultation).

These appointments are very important, but at a time like this they become elective. We’re working on a way that we might be able to help out with these appointments in the interim. We do offer digital consultations for new patients so that we can get the process started virtually. For the moment, we have a record of all appointments within our practice management system, and will reschedule them appropriately when the things have returned to normal.

How frequently should I wash my hands; and how should I be caring for my aligners, elastics, retainers, etc?

Continuing to follow the prescribed schedule for your aligners and rubber bands is extremely important because it maintains the momentum and moves your treatment forward. Good wear is directly related to a good final result. Follow recommendations by washing your hands thoroughly with soap and water for 20 seconds before and after wearing or removing your elastics, aligners, or retainers. These items can also be gently washed or cleaned in a diluted soap and water solution. It’s a good idea to have a designated toothbrush (separate from the one you brush with) for this purpose. After cleaning, rinse thoroughly using cold water.

My dog ate my retainer or aligner, or it got lost or broken. What should I do?

It is always important to wear your retainers to maintain your results. Please contact the office and someone will reach out to you to let you know how we can proceed.

Will patients be allowed in the office at all? Is there anyone there?

For the time being, we will be at the office to attend to emergency appointments as defined above. If you have such an emergency appointment, we kindly ask to only bring the patient into the office so that we can practice social distancing. We would greatly appreciate it if you could wash your hands as you arrive, and as you leave.

I have a poking wire or other irritation that is bothering me. What do I do?

Reach out to us! A picture from your iPhone emailed or texted to our office phone number can be very helpful. We will do our best to walk you through a solution for simple concerns. If your cheeks are being rubbed, one option is to use an over the counter rinse like Rinsinol or Peroxyl, if not, a dilated 1:1 hydrogen peroxide to water rinse or saltwater solution can also help. In the case of a true emergency involving severe pain or discomfort, we will be able to resolve it with a quick trip to our office.

We’re updating our website frequently to keep you in the loop for how our office is responding in these challenging times. Please feel free to visit www.jkortho.com. One popular resource on our website is the “Life With Braces” section, which has recommendations on comfort care and our food guide. We’ll also keep our social media up to date with new information. Follow us on Instagram @jkortho and at facebook.com/jkortho for updates. With some extra time on his hands, you might get to see more of Dr. Jeff and his family as well.

Thank you for your kind understanding, and wonderful support, and thank you for choosing Jeffrey Kwong Orthodontics and supporting our small business. We’re excited to see you soon, so stay healthy!

The Jeffrey Kwong Orthodontics team

To read our latest COVID-19 announcement click here.

Leave a Reply