This policy has been created based on multiple updated sources from within the dental and medical professions and the government. It outlines modifications to our normal procedures that we are employing now our practice has re- opened post Covid-19. It is not known at this time whether these procedures are temporary or whether they will become a permanent feature of the way dental practices must be run to ensure patient and staff safety in the future. The worldwide COVID-19 pandemic is still being evaluated and studied and policies and recommendations are likely to change in line with new scientific evidence over time. We would like to thank all of our patients for their patience and forbearance during the period when our practice was temporary closed and for their understanding and cooperation whilst we implement new measures at the practice. We will of course be providing dental care to all of our patients in the safest possible environment. We greatly appreciate your assistance with any new or modified procedures at the practice.
The practice is now open for all routine dental appointments including Check-ups, Hygienist and Treatments. If a treatment is required where a drill needs to be used (this is known as an Aerosol Generating Procedure -AGP) then we will require at least 1 hour in the surgery to allow for fallow time and clean down time. We thank you for your patience whilst we try to accommodate these longer appointment times. .
PATIENT COMMUNICATION BEFORE APPOINTMENT
We will be contacting patients that have appointments booked in if we need to alter the time or those that do not receive our text message reminders. We will request that all patients who are attending The Dental Centre please update us with any changes in their Medical History/Medication. We will also be carrying out a Covid-19 Screening Questionnaire on patients prior to their appointment.
NEW MEASURES TO REDUCE THE RISK OF COVID-19 TRANSMISSION
Our normal cross-infection control protocols at The Dental Centre against all previously known pathogens are already woven into all clinical activity carried out at the practice. It should be remembered that a dental practice is already a very clean environment compared to public areas and there is no evidence of COVID-19 transmission occurring in increased rates in dentists or their staff. We have collectively evaluated all of the updated guidance and observed what measures have been put in place in other countries. We feel that the measures which are outlined in this policy will reduce risk to the minimum level at the practice. Please be assured that all of our clinical staff will also be complying with our updated procedures to reduce the risk of cross infection in both directions.
BEFORE ATTENDING AT THE PRACTICE
If you feel that you are at risk of having possibly been infected, even if you are asymptomatic, we will respectfully request for you to delay booking any appointments with us for at least one month. We recommend that patients in the high-risk groups for developing complications from coronavirus delay non-essential dental treatment for as long as possible until the trend of the pandemic becomes clear. If you are in a high risk group and do require treatment we will schedule your appointment at the beginning of a session. When travelling to the practice, we would recommend that you limit close contact with other members of the public as far as possible. We will meet all patients at the door and bring them to the surgery as soon as possible. One adult is able to attend with a child; please do not bring additional family members with you unless they are happy to wait in the car or outside the building.
ARRIVING AT THE PRACTICE
When you attend the practice, we will welcome you, and ask for you to keep your coat or jacket with you. The front door will remain locked, however we cannot accept liability for personal items so please limit what you bring into the building. We will take your temperature with a no-touch thermometer. If your temperature is above 37.8°C, you will be unable to enter the practice and will be asked to return home and self isolate as per current government guidelines. We intend to eliminate waiting inside the practice and at reception as much as possible. Accordingly, appointments will be staggered so that patients do not arrive or leave at the same time as other patients as far as we are able to manage.
You will be asked to go to the bathroom ideally before you leave home or before your treatment if possible to minimise contamination, however if you do need to use the toilet it will be disinfected between patients. If you are well, we will direct you straight to the surgery as soon as possible and request that you do the following before or during your appointment: Use the hand sanitiser or put on gloves provided by us in the reception area. We may ask you to use a Hydrogen Peroxide mouthwash before some dental treatments are provided, Rubber dam or other barrier mechanisms will be used for more procedures than previously. We have also recently purchased a Medical Fume Extractor which we will use whilst carrying out Aerosol Generating Procedures. This pulls away airborne contaminants from the operator and patients breathing zone into the filtration system. The team have spent time critically looking at every aspect of the practice with a view to removing all non-essential items that can potentially be the cause of infection. You will find that the practice may appear to be quite bare when you attend. All clinical and common areas including door handles and surfaces will be regularly disinfected in addition to our normal surface cleaning protocols between patients. The Dental Centre will be providing a buffer period between patients to allow additional time for additional decontamination procedures, allow for any treatment overruns and allow preparation time for the next patient so that we can limit the amount of time spent in the waiting area.
All dental staff will be using personal protective equipment in line with current recommendations and evidence. We apologise in advance for the necessary reduction in social interaction that this will necessitate. Whilst our masks/visors may make us appear impersonal and distant, please be assured we are still the same friendly team underneath it all! Our use of our normal high-volume suction and our Medical Fume Extractor reduces aerosol production by over 99.97%. The use of dental rubber dam where possible reduces bio aerosols further. Our regular surgical facemasks filter approximately 60% of remaining airborne particles. We therefore feel that our normal dental procedures can be carried out with minimal risk by the use of high-volume suction, rubber dam, surgical masks, and face shields in aerosol generating procedures gowns and FFP2/3 masks will be worn in addition. The vast majority of our patients are otherwise healthy without coronavirus infection and we are confident that we are able to provide dental care for these patients in as normal an environment as possible while bearing in mind our responsibilities to mitigate risks of infection spread as far as is practically possible.
This policy will be constantly reviewed and updated as necessitated by circumstances over time.
If you have any questions regarding this policy or about your dental care at The Dental Centre Cowplain please do not hesitate to contact us on 02392 262045 or email@example.com