By Kathryn Walsh
On March 20, when Governor Andrew Cuomo signed the New York State on PAUSE Executive Order, dentists across the state were restricted to providing only emergency dental care. At press time, Cuomo opened hospitals in select upstate counties for elective surgeries, but not private dental offices. On June 9, all dental practices were back in business for non-emergent care.
We spoke to several of our Top Dentists to find out how they have adapted to the crisis and what changes are in store for their practices. The participating doctors are: Richard K. Whalen, DDS, from Dental Design Studio in Poughkeepsie; Claudia Patch, DMD, from Woodstock General & Implant Dentistry in Woodstock; Justin A. Hendi, DMD, from Ramapo Oral & Maxillo-Facial Surgery in Suffern; and Alexander Milne, DDS, from Hudson Valley Endodontics in Kingston.
How has your practice adjusted to COVID-19 requirements?
Dr. Patch: I have been personally monitoring recommendations made by the ADA, the CDC, OSHA daily. There are many enhanced infection control procedures we are following to keep patients and our team safe, including: social distancing, wearing additional PPE, suspension of access to the waiting room, even-more-thorough disinfection of all treatment and non-treatment areas, as well as screenings for COVID-19 including taking patients temperatures before being allowed entry.
What types of calls have you received for emergency care? Can you handle these cases, or do you refer them to someone else?
Dr. Milne: As endodontists, we have received specialty training in dealing with dental emergencies and trauma. Because of this, we are confident in providing care should these situations arise. Emergencies can involve severe dental pain from pulpal inflammation, abscesses and localized swelling of the mouth, tooth fractures resulting in pain, and avulsions and luxations.
How have patients responded to the changes?
Dr. Hendi: Our social-distancing protocols have been well received. We believe people understand we try to practice with their best interest in mind…[and] are also attempting to get back to some sense of normalcy and appreciate our attempts to move the process along.
Are you planning to change anything about your practice or procedures when you re-open for non-emergent visits?
Dr. Whalen: For the initial return to normalcy, we will continue to ask patients to wait in their cars, and to call and let us know when they arrive. We want to minimize interactions between people as much as possible. All patients upon entering will be asked to use the hand sanitizer which will be placed just inside the front door. For the dental team, we will be having additional personal protective equipment, as well. In addition to the clinical team wearing N95 masks, they will wear a face shield as well.
What have you learned from this experience?
Dr. Hendi: The importance of preparedness. Having strict sterility protocols already in place prior to the COVID-19 pandemic really allowed us the ability to remain focused on patient care throughout this pandemic. We have continued to operate on a six-day week basis and patients are always able to contact us any day of the week or even after hours for emergencies.
This list is excerpted from the 2020 topDentists™ list, a database that includes listings for 179 dentists and specialists in the Hudson Valley area. The Hudson Valley area list is based on thousands of detailed evaluations of dentists and professionals by their peers. The complete database is available at www.usatopdentists.com. For more information call 706-364-0853; write PO Box 970, Augusta, GA 30903; email email@example.com or visit www.usatopdentists.com.
“If you had a patient in need of a dentist, which dentist would you refer them to?”
This is the question we’ve asked thousands of dentists to help us determine who the topDentists should be. Dentists and specialists are asked to take into consideration years of experience, continuing education, manner with patients, use of new techniques and technologies and of course physical results.
The nomination pool of dentists consists of dentists listed online with the American Dental Association, as well as dentists listed online with their local dental societies, thus allowing virtually every dentist the opportunity to participate. Dentists are also given the opportunity to nominate other dentists that they feel should be included in our list. Respondents are asked to put aside any personal bias or political motivations and to use only their knowledge of their peer’s work when evaluating the other nominees.
Voters are asked to individually evaluate the practitioners on their ballot whose work they are familiar with. Once the balloting is completed, the scores are compiled and then averaged. The numerical average required for inclusion varies depending on the average for all the nominees within the specialty and the geographic area. Borderline cases are given a careful consideration by the editors. Voting characteristics and comments are taken into consideration while making decisions. Past awards a dentist has received, status in various dental academies can play a factor in our decision.
Once the decisions have been finalized, the included dentists are checked against state dental boards for disciplinary actions to make sure they have an active license and are in good standing with the board. Then letters of congratulations are sent to all the listed dentists.
Of course there are many fine dentists who are not included in this representative list. It is intended as a sampling of the great body of talent in the field of dentistry in the United States. A dentist’s inclusion on our list is based on the subjective judgments of his or her fellow dentists. While it is true that the lists may at times disproportionately reward visibility or popularity, we remain confident that our polling methodology largely corrects for any biases and that these lists continue to represent the most reliable, accurate, and useful list of dentists available anywhere.
This list is excerpted from the 2020 topDentists™ list, which includes listings for 179 dentists and specialists in the Hudson Valley area. For more information call 706-364-0853; or write PO Box 970, Augusta, GA 30903; or see www.usatopdentists.com. TopDentists, LLC has used its best efforts in assembling material for this list but does not warrant that the information contained herein is complete or accurate, and does not assume, and hereby disclaims, any liability to any person for any loss or damage caused by errors or omissions herein whether such errors or omissions result from negligence, accident, or any other cause. Copyright 2010-2020 by topDentists, LLC of Augusta, GA. All rights reserved. This list, or parts thereof, must not be reproduced in any form without permission. No commercial use of the information in this list may be made without permission of topDentists, LLC. No fees may be charged, directly or indirectly, for the use of the information in this list without permission.