Thoughts from Quarantine

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To All Our Dear Patients,

Hello from the Isolation Chamber of the Hockel household! We are all happy and healthy here, as I hope you and your families are as well. One of my sons came home for Spring break, and must now finish his college year from home, so five of the kids are home with Beth and me. I am thoroughly glad to have this time to spend with my family, but my heart goes out to those who are sick with the Coronavirus, as well as to the many health care workers caring for them and all their other patients in this time of challenge.

None of us knows how long this California “shelter in place” lockdown is going to continue, but although I started last week with hopes I could see patients with urgent needs, the California Dental Association has now mandated that dentists only see patients with “life-threatening emergencies,” which almost never happens. More likely, some of you might have concerns that I definitely want to address, but that are not “life-threatening.” I plan to do anything I can to address your concerns and keep you healthy and happy.

Our office is temporarily closed, but I am here for you! If you have a concern with which I can help, our office voicemail message has my emergency contact info. Please call me if you or your child has a problem. I’m available by text as well. If it’s a problem you can see, text me a few pictures and I’ll be able to help more. By all means, if there is a serious emergency, please reach out and let me assist.

General Dentistry
If you have a temporary crown or veneer in place, be very careful. As always, no sticky foods!! And you have my rare permission not to floss – just that tooth. If you forget and floss it, let go of one end of the floss and pull it out the other side.

While I am unable to continue regular orthodontic and orthotropic appointments, I can offer some advice to minimize the likelihood you will have problems:
1. Continue wearing your current appliance(s).
2. If you are adjusting an expansion screw on your appliance, hold off making adjustments for now, I’m not so much worried about you making too many adjustments as I am that the appliance might not hold a tight and comfortable fit. So, again, stop making turns to all appliances.
3. If you’re wearing a reverse-pull headgear, it’s ok to continue, so long as the appliance it connects to is still fitting tightly.

If you have an upcoming consultation with me to discuss orthodontic options, and all your necessary records have been obtained (from C-Dental, etc.), it may be possible for me to “meet” with you online. I would be happy to do this and waive the usual consultation fee. If you would like to pursue this option, please text our emergency number to let me know.

Finally, let me encourage you to be grateful for this time we’ve been given. Use it to reconnect with family, to read those books you never got around to, to organize the house, and especially to take good care of yourself: mentally, spiritually, physically. We will pull through all this at some point, so be careful not to give in to the hype and fear that our news, social media, TV, and even many of our friends are so full of. Block all that out and think of the positive. It’s all going to be OK, even though we can’t see the end of the tunnel yet.

I look forward to seeing you again soon!


Dr. Hockel