Dentist Dr. Bruce Elkind, Taking Extra Care during Covid-19
By Krista Martinelli
Some businesses have ramped up their efforts to keep things clean and heighten social distancing during this trying time of Covid-19. In talking with family dentist Dr. Bruce Elkind, I discovered that they were going above and beyond in this area. As a patient, I really appreciate their extra efforts. And yes, I’ve gone in for a cleaning and a repair during this time of the coronavirus. Here is my interview with Dr. Bruce Elkind, who has been his family dentistry practice in 1985. His office is located on Belvedere in Royal Palm Beach, just off 441.
AW: What special precautions are you taking during Covid-19?
BE: We have an air purifier in each room – each unit is capable of cleaning a small house. We have a Reme Halo unit which goes inside the a/c duct work. It sanitizes the air in the unit and sanitizes the air in every square inch of the office.
In our back room, we perform more aerosol-producing procedures.
As for taking patients, we have a screening process in place. Patients are instructed to call from their cars instead of sitting in the waiting room. Once they come in, we take their temperature, ask several questions and make sure they are approved.
We bring them to their room and de-mask. We begin with the patient doing a rinse of 1.5% hydrogen peroxide, which controls the germs in your mouth.
While working, we use an extra oral suction to help minimize aerosols. The port is placed right near the mouth and acts as an extra air purifier (utilizing U/V).
We intentionally have a lot of redundancy in purifying the air in our office.
Our new tagline is, “We are concerned about your health because it’s a matter of life and breath.”
As for PPE, we wear scrubs and a jacket. These are laundered professionally. There’s also an isolation gown. Depending on the task at hand, we wear KN95 or N95 masks. We wear a face shield over the mask. We wear protective glasses and hairnets. I wear special shoes that are only in the office. The rest of the staff wear booties over their shoes. Again, depending on the task at hand, we wear single or double gloves. There’s a lot of suiting up to do. We’re learning how to work with our ‘new norm.’
AW: How do you keep your air circulating at a cleaner rate?
BE: Our air purifier circulates 270 cubic feet of air every 2.5 minutes. The rooms are just 8 x 10 x 6 feet. So, the air is completely turned over 4 to 6 times before the next patient.
AW: How many weeks were you not able to work, due to Covid-19?
We closed after Governor Ron DeSantis declared a State of Emergency on March 19th and then started again on June 1st. During that window of time, we did get calls, but we referred out for most emergencies. Without staff here, I couldn’t do too much. A few small emergency repairs and that’s it.
AW: What about your gear that you wear? Does it protect patients better? Protect staff better?
BE: Actually, the disposable gear is more expensive than the ones you launder. Even though price gauging is not supposed to happen, what used to be about $1.50 per mask got to be $15 per mask.
The isolation gowns had a lot of starch – and the first batch felt like we were wearing shower curtains. Of course, the masks we’ve always worn, so we are not breathing on the patients. The gowns are to protect staff. There are many steps to preparation and clean up, and many steps involve hand washing. There’s hand washing at every turn.
AW: What would you say to a patient who is scared to come in for a cleaning during COVID-19?
BE: First off, I’d let them know everything we’re doing – it’s probably safer than most medical practices, most businesses and also most school buildings. My wife works for the school system, for example. We probably have the safest office and cleanest air among most other businesses.
They should be more worried about their food shopping, restaurant shopping and mall shopping, more than this.
AW: What do you love about the Royal Palm Beach/ Wellington area?
BE: First I used to live in Royal Palm Beach, now I’m in Wellington. I’ve always practiced dentistry in Royal Palm Beach. There are lots of interesting people and there’s lots of diversity. I’m an avid cyclist. You can take a bike ride from my house and pass through many different areas – from equestrian to the AeroClub to businesses and then back to residential. You can see all different walks of life on a 20-minute bike ride.
In addition, Wellington has celebrity homeowners like Bill Gates, Tommy Lee Jones, Bruce Springsteen, the girl who invented the scrunchie Rommy Revson and others.
AW: In one of your testimonials, you’re described as “thorough, compassionate and trustworthy.” What are some other positive comments you’ve received?
BE: We are always hearing that our office staff are skilled and friendly. And that our office is super clean. I’ve also heard that we are “kind and gentle.” We are always on time with appointments. And we are happy to hear from patients that we are up to date with latest safeguards and technology.
AW: What’s the most challenging thing during COVID-19?
BE: It’s working with all of the new PPE equipment and all the things in place. Often you can’t hear each other. When you have two machines operating at 55 decibels each plus drilling, there’s almost no way you can hear each other. I wish we could learn sign language, so we could talk to each other. I wish things would go back to normal soon.
AW: Tell us about other special services you offer.
Frenectomies. This is a laser surgery for babies who are tongue tied. The cutting is via laser technology, resulting in very little bleeding. It heals very quickly. Also it’s thankfully a short procedure for baby and Mom.
Night guards. This is for people with TMJ – they can help with headaches, sore jaw, wearing your teeth down, breaking teeth and notches at gum line.
Night guards are simple protections that more people would benefit from getting. As you might know, stress leads to TMJ.
AW: Tell us about current offers or specials.
BE: We work with Kleer.com. They administer our in-office discount plan, which works with children, routine work and periodontal. Each has a different fee. The 2nd, 3rd or 4th family members get a discount too.
Even if they have insurance, they can still make use of these benefits. We want to make it affordable for the patient.
Another financial benefit is Care Credit. We work with them too. We pay the interest up front.
We also have a $99 New Patient special. This is something to take advantage of if you do not choose to use Kleer.com.
AW: Anything else to add?
Periodontal disease may be more important to address during Covid-19. Sadly, periodontal disease patients are more likely to go on a ventilator if they have the coronavirus.
We are currently taking new patients. Call our office for more information.
Dr. Bruce Elkind
9100 Belvedere Road, #208
West Palm Beach, FL 33411