Interview with Tamara Garrett DDS

Dr. McGlennen: How are you utilizing OraRisk® COVID-19 PCR testing in your practice? What has been the team response?

Tamara Garrett DDS: When my office had to close on March 20th for the COVID pandemic, I was in a complete state of shock. My practice is a second home to me, and my patients and staff are my extended family. I knew I could not stay in a stupor for long and had to put on my “boss” hat to come up with a strategy.

I spent hours learning from ZOOM dental seminars, reading journals, and trying to keep up with the influx of new data and statistics about the virus. My mind raced with a barrage of questions about what safety measures I could implement to keep myself, my staff, and my patients safe. I purchased UV air filters, extraoral suction devices, PPE equipment, and even HOCL fogging machines, but it still did not feel like enough. That is when I reached out to OralDNA® Labs. For years I had used their MyPerioPath® testing to detect pathogens related to gum disease on my patients. I was delighted to learn about their OraRisk® COVID-19 PCR test.

The specimen kits arrive rather quickly, and the OralDNA® customer service team readily walked me through the entire process. I test myself and my staff every month with the prerequisite that outside the office we all continue to follow social distancing and mask protocols. Everyone is gladly on board and appreciative that I provide the service.

Dr. McGlennen: What criteria do you use when selecting a patient for OraRisk® COVID-19 PCR testing?

Tamara Garrett DDS: In terms of criteria, I make the test mandatory for patients with heavier aerosol laden procedures such as crowns. I have explained to them that we want to take every precaution for safety, and it is a mutual benefit. The most common question I receive from them is “Will it hurt?” I explain that the nasal portion of the sample collection is only 1 inch into the nostril versus the 4-inch swab used at testing centers. They quickly consent after that.           

Dr. McGlennen: What do you see as the biggest benefits to using the OraRisk® COVID-19 PCR test?

Tamara Garrett DDS: The biggest benefit of the OraRisk® COVID-19 PCR test is that it serves as an added layer of protection and provides clinically relevant information. SARS-CoV-2 is a novel, deadly respiratory virus and we are still learning about its intricacies. Lab testing is essential to get answers. Patients have told me that their primary physicians do not encourage them to test unless they have symptoms. They are happy that I can provide this service.

Dr. McGlennen: How are you communicating this service to your patients?

Tamara Garrett DDS: I send a newsletter to all my patients explaining the steps my office had in place and the COVID-19 screening services offered.

Dr. McGlennen: What is your biggest challenge? How do you overcome that obstacle?

Tamara Garrett DDS: I feel that the biggest challenge is for the patients who must take the test at the beginning of the week and then return later in the week for a dental procedure. Thankfully, the results come back within 1-2 business days.

Dr. McGlennen: If a new OralDNA® provider were to ask you for advice, what would be your best tip?

Tamara Garrett DDS: If any new OralDNA® provider wanted advice, I would say to dive right in. Your patients and staff will appreciate your commitment to their safety. I plan to continue to use the testing and hope that it provides the information needed to help people stay on course to help mitigate the virus.

For more information on how to become an OralDNA Provider – scan HERE: 

Tamara Garrett DDS
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