Normal Hours to Serve your Emergency Patients

We wanted to let you know how we are planning on resuming normal hours of operation for emergency cases until the Michigan Executive order is lifted.

Drs. Panek and Pisano have been designing and implementing environmental engineering controls for added safety.

PPE is in short supply and Drs. Noordhoek and Van Heukelom have been sourcing specialized PPE and reviewing Telemedicine options to keep our patients and staff safe.

Dr. Billups spearheaded a donation initiative thru the Michigan Society of Oral & Maxillofacial Surgeons 2 weeks ago. A major Detroit hospital was short of sedative drugs necessary to maintain life supporting ventilation of COVID-19 patients. Our practice, along with others in the Detroit area, donated needed drugs. We also contributed to the West Michigan District Dental Society sponsored PPE donation program for Spectrum Health.

All this while our doctors were treating emergency referrals in the Grand Rapids office. During this time we were also providing on-call inpatient hospital oral & maxillofacial surgical care for facial trauma and dental infection patients at Mercy Health Saint Mary’s Hospital.

Details regarding our preparations, along with resources you can use, are found below.

So how do we decrease risk of COVID exposure?

When we went to limited hours due to the Governor’s stay at home order, it was necessary to rethink use of PPE and Engineering Controls. During the pandemic, every patient seen must be treated as if they were COVID positive. It is estimated that 3-5% of our patients may be infected with Corona virus and can be asymptomatic for 2-5 days before feeling ill.

Advanced PPE use including n95 masks may be necessary to ensure safe care of our patients. Any office using n95 respirators, or HCP’s at risk of exposure to respiratory pathogens, are required by OSHA to have a Respiratory Protection Plan. In developing our plan, we addressed engineering controls to minimize aerosol exposures to our staff. One of the first steps was to assess our HVAC system and we subsequently installed high efficiency electrostatic filters to trap bacteria and viruses.

A MERV 12 filter like the one pictured above, while short of HEPA performance, does filter 80% of airborne particles < 3 microns. Most airborne infectious droplets are about 6 microns in size.

We are also evaluating negative pressure options for our operatories using high volume fans as shown above. If you have questions about engineering controls for respiratory protection, feel free to contact Dr. Panek at 616-490-3231 or [email protected]

Read More below to learn how to use respirators to protect yourself and your staff:

Respirator Video

Makers are stepping up to meet demand

The shortage of standard, let alone COVID necessary PPE, has created an opportunity for makers to create acceptable alternatives. Drs. VanHeukelom and Noordhoek have been sourcing 3D printed face shields and locally manufactured respirators. Dr. Noordhoek also made some colorful headcovers for our staff. We encourage anyone with sewing skills to make masks for their family and friends. There is also a mask design using hospital grade sterilization wrap that can function as a respirator. Contact Drs. VanHeukelom and Noordhoek for more information.

Keeping everyone safe

The CDC and ADA recommend institution of patient screening and use of telehealth portals to minimize exposure of patients and HCP during the pandemic. The Center for Oral Surgery & Dental Implants will be implementing a telehealth platform that integrates with our Carestream digital EMR over the next few weeks.

Resources for reopening during the pandemic


The CDC and ADA have provided abundant guidance for dental HCP’s to use in modifying their practices in response to the pandemic. Please click here for guidance.

Be sure to read all the embedded links in the above document for detailed information you can use to get ready for May opening!