Re-opening of dental practice.
This page will be updated regularly on the operation of our dental services.
The government has announced the easing of lock-down measures for dentistry commencing 8th June 2020.
Throughout the pandemic, we have been clear that our first priority is the wellbeing of our patients and staff and this continues to be the case
There will be some limits to the service to ensure patient safety. During Covid19 pandemic supplies of PPE have been restricted and so the pace at which we work will be limited by ongoing availability of PPE. The practice has been undertaking and will continually undertake various risk assessments in respect of:
- Health and well-being of personnel
- Availability of PPE
- Safety of the work environment for staff and patients
- Efficacy of dental tools to minimise aerosol
- Adherence to evidence-based standard operating procedures which will evolve as new evidence of health promotion and cross-infection control emerges
Aerosol Generating Procedures in Dentistry
Many procedures performed in dentistry generate a fine mist of airborne particles which can be respired and may contain airborne pathogens. Whereas there is compelling empirical evidence to suggest that transmission of air-borne pathogens is extremely low, with no recorded community outbreaks as a direct result of dental procedures across the world, we wish to operate safely, and aerosol generating procedures in dentistry will need to be carefully controlled and planned, particularly for the next few months.
In the next few weeks
Our dental hygienists are hoping to commence operating a more limited services soon. Hygienists will undertake gum treatments in a manner as to minimise aerosol. This may involve more use of non-aerosol generating hand scalers.
We are working towards commencing aerosol generating procedures with the dentist but we will initially be offering limited appointments.
All our staff have been ongoing process of training to help them manage your care in the safest way possible based on the latest guidelines
You will notice some differences in how we work
You will notice some differences to the traditional delivery of dental care. Some of the processes described below require extensive hardware and software platform changes and this will take several weeks to implement:
- There will be wider appointment hours to enable buffer zones and reduce traffic and promote social distancing
- Early appointments will be available for those who are shielding or who are vulnerable to maximise their safety
- There will be a greater focus on telephonic consultation prior to an appointment to minimise the time that you spend in the building
- Patients will receive a telephonic/elctronic form based COVID19 risk assessment prior to attendance
- There will be restricted entry with a maximum number of patients in the building at any one time, and only patients who are receiving treatment will be permitted to enter unless there is a pressing need for an accompanied person with parental responsibility or to assist an older adult physically or for mental capacity reasons
- Patients should attend without large bags, coats (where practical),
- Patients will be asked to bring a mouth covering if needed to wait on the premises.
- All patients will need to sanitise hands on entry to our building
- Some areas of the building will have guided entry to avoid patients touching door handles
- Some aerosol based dental appointments will be longer with view to completing ALL work in one day to avoid re-appointing. This will naturally be subject to extent of work needed and ability and willingness to tolerate longer dental procedures.
- Our staff will wear additional PPE for your protection and protection of the dental team to minimise the potential for community spread
- We would respectfully ask patients to pre-pay via card telephonically for their dental appointments to minimise traffic in the surgery. For patients who wish to pay in cash at the surgery, we would request that you seek to arrive with correct amounts in a plastic bag to help minimise cash handling
Maximising social distancing
Where feasible we will operate a policy of waiting in vehicles and be called in to the surgery by a ‘Patient Guide’ so as to not congest waiting rooms. We realise this is not possible where a Car Park is not adjacent to a practice, nor will it be practical to wait outside in winter months. The practice policy on waiting outside will evolve as the R value.
Our Standard Operating Procedures
There is currently no universally accepted method of working for dental practices. Various opinion pieces, grey literature and scientific reports have been published. Me and my team have researched most of the published guidance from various dental governing bodies, including the Faculty of General Dental Practice, the Centres for Disease Control and the World Health Organisation and have developed our own standard operating procedures to maintain patient safety and the safety of our workforce. We believe that these are currently more comprehensive than any published document we have currently seen. This will be available for your perusal on request via the practice manager.
Minimising community spread of disease
We will be providing frequent training to all staff members to ensure they can effectively and safely support your dental care in the post COVID era. Our receptionists will be wearing PPE. Our clinical staff will be wearing enhanced PPE, particularly face visors and respirators. This is for your protection and to minimise the possibility of community transmission of airborne pathogens, not limited to coronavirus.
We ask all patients to risk assess themselves and decide if they are COVID-19 free and fit enough to receive non-essential treatment at this time and defer any non-essential treatment.
If you require advice before attending your appointment please phone and request that one of the clinicians undertake a telephonic consultation before arranging your appointment.
We are looking to be of service once again for our community and progressively work towards rebuilding our service in a safe manner. In doing so, we will not forget the many lessons learned by Coronavirus, and remember to treasure old values of community spirit, friendship and family.
We are looking forwards to seeing you soon and rebuilding our lives.
With our best wishes. Stay healthy.