Our KO COVID-19 Response

Covid Response

An article was written by Dr. Bowman for Kalamazoo Orthodontic patients in the midst of the COVID-19 epidemic (May, 2020) as we anticipated reopening to see our patients once again.  It details the significant changes that we made in logistics, air quality, aerosol mitigation, etc. to the benefit of both our patients who entrust their care to us and also for our team members. The changes we have made are also detailed in 2 published articles, several roundtable interviews, and other web-based interviews that Dr. Bowman participated in. Thankfully, we have subsequently also re-opened our satellite offices in Paw Paw and Kalamazoo.

Kalamazoo Orthodontics reopened on June 1, 2020, to begin to see our patients. Dr. Bowman made the decision to close our offices on Tuesday, March 16th, prior to the Governor’s Executive Orders. Our staff was laid-off. It has been nearly 3 months without seeing anyone, except just our patients with emergencies. We asked those folks to e-mail their photographs, we then triaged, and handled their issues (sometimes by Virtual Visit on-line and others required in person attention).

KO BOOT CAMP We are thrilled to have re-hired all of our Team KO staff members. We’ve stayed in touch during the lock-down with regular ZOOM virtual meetings. Prior to seeing our first patients, all of us will have completed 4 full days of training to include new COVID-era procedural changes, CDC and OSHA recommendations, new equipment instruction, re-assign staff roles, and conducted rehearsals to integrate it all for the optimum safety for our patients.

“For your health and safety, we have modified our store experience to meet or exceed public health requirements with cleaning, sanitization and social distancing.” – Starbucks

ENVIRONMENTAL CHANGES KO has gone above and beyond any suggestions from the CDC and OSHA for your safety. We began researching immediately when the pandemic broke. We brought in an HVAC engineer to advise and design the changes that we have subsequently made. Some folks are interested  in the details of what we have done, so we are providing the low-down on the changes we have made:  

Three Furnaces/AC units have been replaced with high efficiency units including: 3 Bryant Cor Air Purifier Systems – HEPA filtration  

3 Second Wind 2000 Germicidal UV-C light units  

3 Aprilaire humidifiers to maintain 40-60% humidity (the virus doesn’t like humidity)  

Two “Air Isolation Rooms” Besides our new office HVAC constantly recirculating air filtration, we have also converted 2 private rooms to “air isolation units” that can be switched to “negative pressure” as necessary. Each room has its own Microcon EXC7UV hospital grade HEPA and UV-C light filtration units with Echophan blower. The air exchange rates can be varied from 6 > 14 air changes/ hour (ACH). These rooms will be used for specific procedures and filtration adjusted for complete air changes every 5 minutes. These two rooms are not mandated or required. However, in combination with the other filtration enhancements in the office, we believe we have likely reduced the potential transmission of most any type of airborne infectious diseases (e.g., colds, flu, strep, pneumonia, COVID, and it will help with allergies, too).  

Two Jade Surgically-Clean Air Purifiers – self-contained standalone HEPA/UV light filters.  

We now also have a 3rd M11 Autoclaves in our laboratory, along with a Lab Hood Vent Exhaust. We also ordered 2 UPang UV-C sterilizing cabinets.  

Each operatory unit is equipped with Hu-Friedy Antimicrobial Agent Waterline Filters.  

We have invested in a variety of brand-new options for aerosol mitigation at each of our operatory units. Some catch aerosols intraorally, others just at the edge of your lips, and others are mobile filtration units (e.g. HealthyAir Source Dental Aerosol Extractor) that also have self-contained HEPA/UV filtration and function as aerosol “scavengers” near your face.  

We have converted 2 private orthodontic “records” rooms with new chairs for digital intraoral scanning using our iTero Element scanners. Scanning replaces most goopy impressions for fabricating Invisalign, retainers, and other appliances. We also added a chair to an alcove for simple, quick procedures, and instructions.  

We ask that you contact us when you arrive, we’ll communicate with you before permitting entry. (We will ask medical history questions, does the patient have any broken braces that would necessitate a different appointment, confirm that the  patient used the bathroom at home and also brushed thoroughly before coming to the office, that patient checked that their temperature and it is less than 100 degrees, and that they are wearing their own mask or face-covering, etc.  

Only the patient will enter our Portage office. We will verify their temperature (we have 3 different methods to confirm) and if >100F, then we will re-appoint. Our office will be maintained MOVIE THEATRE–ICE COLD (we are all wearing HOT PPE), so please bring your own sweater or sweatshirt to keep warm.