Dedicated to the continued good health, wellness and safety of all its patients
Back in the early 1980s, when Dr. James Crouse was attending dental school at the University of Maryland at Baltimore, it was standard for dentists not to use protective gloves when examining or treating patients. As the Salisbury native was graduating magna cum laude as part of the class of ’85, the HIV/AIDS pandemic was starting to garner national media coverage — and universal precautions were put in place throughout the industry for the protection of dental-care providers from infectious disease transmission.
Today, with the current pandemic and social distancing in place, Dr. Crouse has implemented strict policies and procedures at The Brace Place to ensure the health and safety of his patients and team. His robust practice, which usually treats 80-100 patients per day, is now seeing just a handful — the majority presenting with emergency needs, such as lost retainers, loose brackets, or poking wires. Only one family is permitted to be in the reception area at a time, and any appliances, such as new aligners, are available for pickup in the practice’s parking lot.
Although Dr. Crouse and his team always practice excellent infection control measures in their office, they have stepped up the frequency of those measures. All team members must pass annual infection-control training and implement the high standards set by the CDC and OSHA. He has strategically reduced the use of aerosol-producing high-speed handpieces and employs many other techniques designed to maintain a safe environment.
“I’ve been dealing with potentially deadly pathogens and infectious diseases my entire career,” Dr. Crouse said. “I have always taken infection control very seriously, to ensure our offices are very safe for our patients and team.”
With a majority of its patients at home, The Brace Place has implemented remote monitoring to continue care for their orthodontic needs. Patients can take photos of their teeth on their phones and email them to be reviewed.
“This is a great option for patients who are uneasy, self-conscious or noncommittal based upon length of treatment or cost concerns,” Dr. Crouse said. “We’ll review their photos and determine if their treatment is progressing as it should and establish if a phone call or an in-person consult is necessary.
The Brace Place is also offering virtual consultations, which allow both the doctor and patient to understand the complexities of treatment, have questions answered and maximize their time.
“Our virtual exams allow those interested in straightening their teeth to still experience a free assessment, during which we can determine if it’s appropriate and, if so, begin its implementation and monitor the progress remotely.”
Dr. Crouse also shared self-care advice for his patients during the current situation: “People should obviously continue to brush their teeth, watch what they eat, so there’s no damage to their teeth, and, most importantly, not panic in the event of an emergency,” he advised. “If a patient really needs to be seen, we’ll see them and take good care of them.”