Our Blog

Urgent Update!

March 16th, 2020

 

As a commitment to both your health and a commitment to contribute to the Public Health, all dental appointments at Markiewicz Dental from Tuesday March 17, 2020 through Tuesday March 31, 2020 will be rescheduled.  Please be patient, over the next few days, our Business Team will be contacting those with appointments to reschedule.

During this two-week period:

  • Our Business Team will be available to assist with questions
  • We will continue to monitor developments and recommendations to insure we will be fully prepared to re-open
  • To accommodate rescheduling, we are opening additional clinic hours in April
  • We will post updates to our website
  • We will be available for emergency care only. Please call, as all emergencies must be pre-screened prior to any office visit

From Dr. Tony's Bio:

“….. I am most grateful for the privilege of being allowed to share in so many of our patient's lives. My life has been enhanced by the relationships we have developed with our patients. Many have been with our practice since childhood, and we have all grown together. We have shared the joys of the birth of children, graduations, new careers, and marriages and we have shared the sorrows of loss. It is a privilege to be allowed to share in the lives of so many wonderful people.”

Dr. David and I take very seriously our responsibility to safeguard your well-being.  We have been attentive to the scientific data and recommendations of the CDC, WHO, and ADA.  Things are changing rapidly, and we have been reviewing and modifying protocols to follow best practices to insure patient and team member safety.

While I remain confident in our ability to keep everyone safe, Dr. David and I decided the right thing to do is to postpone all elective dental treatment and procedures to encourage our patients to stay home.

Public Health officials are stressing the importance of all of us modifying our behaviors to help ‘flatten the curve”.  Flattening the curve will save lives by reducing demand on our healthcare system.   Per our Public Health Officials, if possible, we all just need to stay home.  The best weapon we have against the spread of the virus is isolation.

We All Can Make a Difference.

As I awoke this morning, I received this notice from the Illinois State Dental Society (ISDS):

“…. To ensure the safety of our patients, communities and dental team members, ISDS recommends the following measures that align with Gov. Pritzker’s mandates to limit the spread of COVID-19 ……. for the two-week period beginning Tuesday, March 17 through Tuesday, March 31:

  • Treat only patients requiring emergency dental procedures.
  • Postpone elective dental treatment and procedures.
  • Preserve personal protective equipment (PPE) for emergency dental situations.  This action will also preserve the limited supply of PPE so it can be used for urgent and more complex medical care that will be needed in our healthcare system.
  • Communicate the utmost importance of the health and safety of our patients, the dental team and our community in implementing these measures

Our priority is the well-being of our family members and community.  We are experiencing an unprecedented threat to our Public Health.  The choices each of us make, not only affect us, but they also affect vulnerable members of our communities.  We are all in this together.  Our desire is to contribute to Public Health.   While this is an inconvenience for us all, sacrifices now will help reduce pain in the future.

Tony and David Markiewicz and the Team at Markiewicz Dental

Your Safety is Our Priority

March 9th, 2020

At Markiewicz Dental, your safety is our primary concern.  Yes, we focus on the latest dental procedures and technology, but behind the scenes, we also focus on the less glamorous protocols and technology to keep our patients and our team safe. This includes regular training on emergency medical drills and yes, regular review of our Infection Control Practices.  Dentistry has come a long way since I began Dental School in 1981.  Infection control practices were non-existent.  Use of gloves, masks, and heat sterilization was very rare.  The AIDS crisis forced a change for the better.  Dentistry had to take a serious look at infection control and patient safety.  When I began practicing Dentistry in the US Navy in 1985, I witnessed a painful transition, those who had been practicing for a while had difficulty, but for me, it was an invaluable experience to watch and participate in the trial and error that resulted in solid infection control protocols to protect our patients.  Out of that struggle came a profession focused on patient and team safety.  So much so, that The Center for Disease Control states that the dental community has been doing a very good job of protecting our patients via state-of-the-art infection control practices.  

We all can play a role in helping prevent the spread of this virus and contribute to overall public health.  Please read our Coronavirus: How we all can make a difference to better understand the reasons for the protocol changes we are implementing.

Due to recent public health concerns involving the CoronaVirus, we at Markiewicz Dental are monitoring information from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and local officials regarding the spread of COVID-19 (Novel Coronavirus disease). The safety of our patients and staff is our top priority.  As such, we have Instituted:

  1. Screening measures for patients
  2. A review of our stringent infection prevention protocols and implemented some minor changes
  3. Increased the frequency with which they sanitize and clean public spaces
  • Screening: 

    1. We ask all patient and visitors to notify us in advance if they feel they are at risk for COVID-19 and to take preventative measures for the safety of themselves, and others.
    2. If you have flu or cold-like symptoms such as a cough or fever, newly developed shortness of breath, or if you have recently traveled to an area outside the US with known coronavirus (COVID-19) or been in contact with someone who has traveled or contracted the virus, please call us at 566.2811 to reschedule your appointment
    3. As part of our Appointment Confirmation System, we will ask if you are ill. Do you have a fever, cough, sore throat, muscle pain, or GI symptoms?  If so, it is wise to reschedule your dental appointment.  The odds of you having the Coronavirus are slim at this time, but you could infect other patients and team members with a cold or flu.
    4. You will be presented with a short questionnaire about recent illnesses and travel. Anyone recently ill or who has traveled to the listed countries should reschedule no sooner than 14 days after recovery or returning from the trip.  Current countries include:
      1. China, Hong Kong or Macau
      2. South Korea
      3. Northern Italy (or all of Italy)
      4. Iran
      5. Japan

Our goal is to provide all our patients with a safe environment to receive dental care.  While rescheduling may inconvenience both our patient’s and our office, we do believe these simple protocols will help ensure everyone’s safety.

  • Infection Control Protocols:

Since the AIDS crisis, Dentistry has always risen to the challenge of protecting our patients from the latest infectious disease challenge.  We value the trust you show in our office. We want to reassure you we comply with and often exceed the guidelines for sterilization and patient protection from the American Dental Association. I wanted to share with you some of what we do. Our philosophy has always been and will always be “to treat our patients as if they were our own family members.” Here are some things that our dental office does to protect you:

  • Our philosophy is: If it can’t be heat sterilized, use disposable. The best method of sterilization is autoclaving. The process utilizes steam pressure to kill bacteria and viruses. If an item cannot withstand the extreme heat and pressure of an autoclave, we attempt to use disposable items. Those few items that are not disposable and cannot be autoclaved are covered with a disposable barrier and wiped clean with a surface disinfectant after use.
  • For sterilization to be effective, instruments must be clean. All used instruments are first washed and sanitized in our Hydrim instrument washer system. After a 26-minute wash cycle, the instruments are clean, dry, and sanitized. They are now ready for the autoclave.
  • Our dental handpieces are cleaned, flushed, and lubricated in our automated handpiece maintenance system. Once the cycle is complete, the handpieces are ready to be sterilized.
  • We verify sterilization of every tray with a sterilization integrator. Every tray and pack contain an integrator that verifies sterilization prior to patient use. We also complete weekly spore testing utilizing a third-party testing lab. Each week, we submit a test to a monitoring service to verify the effectiveness of our autoclave.
  • Dental unit waterlines can be a source of infection. Each of our dental units is equipped with a closed water bottle system. These systems allow us to treat and flush the units to prevent build-up of potentially dangerous biofilms. Our dental unit waterlines are protected with Dentapure filters and Bio-bottles.
  • Our treatment rooms are sanitized after each patient. Before you enter our examination and hygiene rooms, all surfaces, including the dental chair, dental light, drawer handles, X-rays sensors and unit, computer and mouse, and countertops, have been cleaned and decontaminated and fresh disposable barriers placed.
  • All our dental team members involved in contact with patients always wash their hands before and after every patient and use only fresh gloves.
  • In order to reduce post-operative discomfort and reduce the spread of colds and viruses, we request each patient complete a 30-second mouth rinse prior to treatment. The rinse significantly reduces the bacteria and viruses found in the office air and on surfaces.

After a review of our protocols, we will:

  1.  Post signs at entrances with instructions to patients with symptoms of respiratory infection to:
    1. Cover mouths /noses when sneezing or coughing
    2. Use disposable tissues
    3. Perform hand hygiene after coughing or sneezing
  2. Provide tissues, no-touch receptacles for disposal, and hand sanitize in the reception area.
  3. Offer masks to anyone presenting with a persistent cough after they enter the office.  These patients will be rescheduled and given appropriate referrals if needed.
  4. We will no longer re-use patient safety glasses. Patients are encouraged to use their own glasses or will be provided disposable safety glasses.
  • Increase Frequency of cleaning public spaces

    1. Our team has committed to continuous cleaning of surfaces, knobs, and handles in our public spaces.

Our goal is to provide all our patients with a safe environment to receive dental care.  While, rescheduling may inconvenience both our patient’s and our office, we do believe these simple protocols will help ensure everyone’s safety.

The dedicated team at Markiewicz Dental

Coronavirus: How we all can make a difference

March 9th, 2020

Updated 3/16/2020

While I am far from an expert in Infectious Disease or Public Health, I have been actively monitoring developments and attempting to synthesize information from credible sources.  I hope this summary helps put many of the pieces of this puzzle together.  While we have no control over governmental responses to COVID-19, each of us can play a significant role in protecting ourselves, our loved ones, our neighbors, our communities ,and yes, contribute to overall public health.  I think this message is being lost in all the noise surrounding coverage of the disease.

Let me stress:  Each of us can contribute to the well-being of others by following simple precautions.  Let me explain.

Due to the tremendous successes of our Public Health System and tremendous advancements in medical treatments, especially in the area of vaccine development, as a society, we are not accustomed to a disease for which we don’t have a "fix".  Smallpox, Measles, Typhoid, and Influenza are some examples of diseases which historically caused epidemics and pandemics in the United States.   While Third World countries still continue to suffer the ravages of preventable diseases, we in the US have become accustomed to a readily available vaccine or treatment for an infectious disease.  Prior to the development of vaccines, epidemics and pandemics occurred regularly.  In 1796, the first vaccine developed was for Smallpox, but it was not until the 1940’s that large-scale vaccine production was possible and disease control efforts could begin in earnest.

Today’s COVID-19 looks a lot like the Spanish Flu of 1918.  With no vaccine and no treatment, the  available tools to control the spread of flu were largely limited to non-pharmaceutical interventions (NPI's) such as isolation, quarantine, good personal hygiene, use of disinfectants, and limits on public gatherings, which were used in many cities.  Sound familiar? 

By following NPI’s, we will not only protect ourselves and loved ones, but also help protect our neighbors, especially the most vulnerable among us.  Each of us can contribute to fighting the spread of COVID-19. 

Your personal risk, if you're a young and healthy adult...seems to be fairly low... The risk of inadvertently catching and passing along the coronavirus to someone else and continuing a transmission chain is much higher.

While the data on COVID-19 is limited, it appears that about 5% of COVID-19 victims develop critical cases that require hospitalization and critical care.  While we have a well-developed healthcare/hospital system in the United States, we do have limited capacity.  If the rate of infection is rapid, the concern becomes overwhelming our healthcare system.

The initial phase of controlling an epidemic/pandemic is containment (Preventing the Spread).  We have lost that opportunity and now must look to mitigation (Control the spread to help preserve the healthcare systems ability to serve those in need). Not only those suffering from the virus, but also those suffering from chronic and acute health conditions.  If the system is overwhelmed, it is possible that those with cancer or heart problems for example may also have trouble receiving care.

Public Health refers to “Flattening the Curve” and we all need to contribute to helping “flatten the curve”.

This isn't just about ourselves.  Our behaviors will affect the well being of others.  By adopting protective measures such as “social distancing” when out in public, travel limitations, and excellent hygiene we can slow the spread of the disease and spread out the consumption of healthcare resources over a longer period of time.

This saves lives both in the short and long term, by making sure more people have access to ICU beds when they need them, by giving our supply chain time to ramp up production of masks and other personal protective equipment which are in short supply, and by allowing time for a vaccine to eventually be created.

I think you will agree, small inconveniences to help safeguard those around us.

How to prevent the spread of the virus

 

What are the Symptoms of CoronaVirus?

At Markiewicz Dental we will continue to monitor developments and advisories to help protect your safety.  Please see our latest blog for office updates.

I hope you found this summary helpful.  Please send comments or suggestions for updates.

Anthony Markiewicz, DDS, FAGD

Brittany's Bites: Pick up that Water Pik

March 2nd, 2020

 

Want to know how to inexpensively add years to your life? You’ll never guess, but believe it or not, it’s FLOSSING!

Flossing is one of the most important hygiene practices besides brushing and rinsing. Flossing cleans tight areas between the teeth to remove food and plaque biofilm, that if left behind, can cause tooth decay and gum disease.

I’ve heard this before, and sorry to be blunt, but not flossing is the equivalent of wiping your cheeks and not the crack! After all, there are more than 500 bacterial species that can be found in plaque, some are good and some bad. Leaving that “junk” between and under your gums can cause not only dental issues but many other health problems.

Newer research shows flossing can help prevent heart disease. There is a strong correlation between people with poor oral hygiene and cardiovascular disease. Knowing what we know now, I don’t know why you wouldn’t want to floss.

Unfortunately, flossing can be difficult for most patients. Thank goodness, in this day and age, we have alternatives. One of the best adjuncts to string flossing is water flossing. I can personally tell you that I have a water flosser and use it everyday! I have the Water Pik water flosser, and I love using it, and have not gone a day without it!

The main objective of water flossing is to use high pressured water to remove biofilm, plaque and food debris from tooth and gum surfaces. Quite simply, water flossing helps to flush away harmful bacteria that contribute to gingivitis, inflammation and tooth decay.

Water flossers are great for nearly everyone. That’s why I recommend it to all of my patients! They’re especially made for people that have trouble using string floss, have poor dexterity, crowns, implants, bridges or braces. Even though water flossing is highly effective, it does not completely replace manual string floss.

Water flossing is easy and only takes a few minutes a day! There are several different types of water flossers. There are cordless versions, countertop models and several different brands to choose from. Plus, they’re very affordable. Speaking of affordability, you’ll save on dental bills by not needing to see us as often. You want to get your hygienist to stop the bleeding gums lecture, I suggest picking up a water flosser. You’ll thank me later!

*If you are interested, an ADA approved Water Flosser is available on Amazon for $69.97. We believe this could be a great investment to improve your oral health and help keep your teeth for a lifetime!

Brittany Whiting is a talented certified dental hygienist. She has been a valuable Markiewicz Dental team member since 2009. She believes that proper oral hygiene education is an essential part of her job as a hygienist and she hopes to help each patient find a routine that works for them!

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