Innovating During COVID-19

By Emily Freehling

Woman at orthodontist offics

As much of life was put on pause to slow the spread of COVID-19 this spring children’s growth and adults’ orthodontic needs kept on going. The team at Fredericksburg Orthodontics and Invisalign Center realized quickly that they would need to find innovative ways to safely provide consultations and services to existing and new patients while working within the limitations posed by the pandemic. As our August Expert, board-certified Fredericksburg Orthodontist Dr. Diana Almy and her team offer information about how the practice has kept services going as conditions have evolved.

How did the pandemic affect Fredericksburg Orthodontics and Invisalign Center?

In response to the global pandemic of COVID-19, all of the dental and orthodontic offices in the state were required to temporarily shut down to help conserve PPE (personal protective equipment, such as masks). While shelter-in-place orders were imposed, Fredericksburg Orthodontics and Invisalign Center innovated to find new ways to care for patients.

“Our top priority is the safety and well-being of our patients and staff members.” ~ Dr. Diana Almy, Fredericksburg Orthodontics and Invisalign Center

How were you able to serve patients during the shutdown?

Faced with the challenge of providing continuity of care for current patients and getting new patients started on orthodontic treatment during the COVID-19 crisis, Fredericksburg Orthodontics and Invisalign Center developed an effective strategy to meet the orthodontic needs of the community. Dr. Almy and her team leveraged technology to implement Virtual Smile Consultations for new patients and Virtual Smile Check-ins to keep in communication with current patients during the closure and to give patients interested in treatment an opportunity to be evaluated.

How do virtual consultations work?

Fredericksburg Orthodontics and Invisalign Center produced a “How-To” video explaining the necessary images needed to make an accurate smile assessment and posted it online for patients to review. Through the images patients sent from their phones, Dr. Almy was able to keep patients’ orthodontic treatment on track. For new patients, a step-by-step instruction guide was created to guide them through the Virtual Smile Assessment and consultation process. New and existing patients can find all of these resources at Fredericksburgorthodontics.com.

How were you able to keep Invisalign patients on track?

The Invisalign system straightens teeth using a custom-made series of clear aligners created specifically for each individual patient. To progress through the treatment, patients need to continue to pick up new trays of aligners. During the pandemic, Dr. Almy created a new system for patients to receive their aligner trays in a safe, quick, coordinated manner that limited exposure to others. This allowed Invisalign patients to stay on-track with treatment. It was so well-received by patients and their families that Fredericksburg Orthodontics and Invisalign Center plans to continue its use.

What does patient care look like in the current phase of Virginia’s reopening?

Currently, Fredericksburg Orthodontics and Invisalign Center is thrilled to be open and seeing patients in person in the safest and healthiest way possible. Dr. Almy and her team go above and beyond current guidelines for patient care. All non-patients are asked to wait in the vehicle during the patient’s appointment. Team members communicate with the patient or parent via text messages to let the patient know when it is time to come in for the appointment. The text message will include a wellness form that is to be filled out prior to entering the office. Temperatures are taken and hand sanitizer is provided as patients enter and exit for their appointments. If patients have any symptoms of illness, Fredericksburg Orthodontics and Invisalign Center kindly requests that the appointment be rescheduled for a later time.

Dr. Almy and the team at Fredericksburg Orthodontics and Invisalign Center are dedicated to providing the highest quality of orthodontic care in a safe and healthy environment for their patients. It has been a privilege to be able to provide virtual orthodontic appointments and new smile assessments in this ever-changing health crisis and the entire team looks forward to continuing to serve patients with enhanced health and safety protocols.

Patients can learn more and request a free consultation at fredericksburgorthodontics.com. Call or text 540-898-7211 with questions or to schedule a consultation.

Stay tuned to the Fredericksburg Parent and Family Facebook Page and YouTube Channel during the month of August for a video interview featuring Dr. Diana Almy of Fredericksburg Orthodontics and Invisalign Center.