Our commitment to patient safety has always led procedures at our practice, with infection control a priority. Following the arrival of Covid-19, this is even more vital.
We implemented tele-dentistry, consultation via video link, along with phone consultations. These were to make decisions on who should attend for urgent care when we first reopened. Greater flexibility is now allowed, although we still need to prioritise.
Patients who are recovering from the virus, or showing symptoms will unfortunately not be able to attend but we look forward to seeing them in the future. For those who do visit, every precaution will be in place.
They include a new ventilation system, installed in July 2020 to double the flow of fresh air. Helpful when windows are closed in the winter, just one aspect of changes made to protect our patients and staff.
A Focused Regime
We are required to focus on necessary support but appointment making will still be led by good communication, so all patients have a clear idea of timing for visits.
Professional judgment will need to be used on treatment choices, to avoid options which create a significant aerosol effect. This does not mean treatment will be any less helpful, or more painful for patients.
Procedures will be constantly reviewed to keep everyone safe, the current planned approach is outlined below:
- Patients will be triaged by phone and/or video link 3 to 5 working days before attending. Along with dental investigation, they will be asked about their health in terms of Covid-19 and that of their family members.
- We ask that you do not to come too early and wait outside if you do. Only 2 people at a time will be able to wait in reception. Other patients, or companions may need to wait in their car, or outside.
- When you enter, you will be asked to disinfect, then wash your hands and put on shoe covers. Your temperature will be taken and recorded, then ideally you will go directly to surgery, without waiting at reception.
- Attending alone will be preferred. If a parent, carer, or partner does need to come, they will be asked to wear a mask on arrival and generally not be permitted to enter the treatment room.
- For all treatment, you will be seen by team members wearing full medical personal protection. They also wear surgical masks at all other times within the practice and observe detailed infection control practices.
- Before treatment, you will rinse with H2O2 (hydrogen peroxide) mouthwash for 1 minute and with chlorhexidine solution before procedures. A rubber dam may be used and your tooth disinfected with H2O2, before treatment.
We have no intention of being antisocial but won’t shake hands, there are no magazines, doors are left open, so you don’t need to open them. Reception is behind plexiglass, although normally you will leave directly from the treatment room.
A Managed Practice
Practical instructions will be emailed to patients, before they attend. From details of how to wash your hands at home, to the ways behaviour has changed within the practice, social distancing remains vital.
You will be asked to pay before your visit to avoid contact. If a treatment plan, leaflets, or an invoice are required, they will be emailed to you within a day.
Strict cleaning procedures are in place for floors and surfaces in non clinical areas, from toilets to door handles. With the most appropriate detergent, antiviral, or antibacterial cleaner used in each case.
Staff must wash their hands regularly for at least 20 secs and after any event, or contact. Hand sanitizers are available for all, anything arriving at the practice, such as from a lab, is carefully disinfected.
Treatment rooms are tidied and disinfected throughout between appointments. This may mean a few less visits each day but is a key procedure.
The approach above will allow us to treat almost all patients. A few people of advanced years, or compromised health may need special consideration, perhaps a postponement but this will be quite rare.
As a friendly practice, we are in a sense sorry for any inconvenience procedures cause but hope you understand this is for everyone and will allow people to maintain their dental health throughout a difficult time.