EMERGENCY DENTAL CARE
If you have a dental emergency, please contact us, and we will help you through the next steps.
For all other patients who are either experiencing dental pain that can be managed at home, or are looking for general dental help and advice during this time of isolation, we have provided some helpful resources below.
COVID-19 PORINGLAND DENTAL PRACTICE REOPENING POLICY
In reopening our practice, our policy has been created from guidance documents issued by the British Dental Association, Denplan, Public Health England, the Chief Dental Officer and other sources within the dental and medical profession.
Our policy outlines modifications to our usual procedures. It is not known whether these will be 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 COVID-19 pandemic is still being evaluated and studied, and so 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 our temporary practice closure and for their understanding and cooperation whilst we implement new measures at the practice.
As of the 25th June, our practice is open and able to see patients for treatment once again.
Initially, we will be seeing patients who have been coping with dental problems during our closure period. We will then be phasing in the gradual return to providing full care depending on the Government’s coronavirus state of alert in England, the establishment of a reliable supply chain for procurement of the necessary Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and the development of standard operating protocols.
The Dental profession has always achieved a high standard of infection control. In the practice, our normal cross-infection control protocols against infectious pathogens are already woven into all clinical activity carried out at the practice. 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 are implementing the following measures to reduce the risk of transmission of COVID-19. Please be assured that all of our staff, both clinical and non-clinical, will be complying with our updated procedures to reduce the risk of cross-infection in both directions.
Our receptionists will be contacting patients and confirming appointments ahead of their scheduled time. We request that you update us of your medical and dental history, before your visit. This will allow us to assess your level of risk for coronavirus infection before you attend the practice.
We will phone you at least 24 hours before your appointment to advise you on our new protocols and procedures.
BEFORE ATTENDING THE PRACTICE
We will carry out an assessment via telephone 24 hours prior to your appointment to assess coronavirus infection risk. If we feel that you are at risk of having possibly been infected, we will request for you to delay booking any appointments with us for at least one month.
If we are unable to speak with you the day before your appointment, we will be unable to see you for your appointment.
We would recommend that the patients in the high-risk groups from coronavirus delay non-essential dental treatment for as long as possible.
ARRIVING AT THE PRACTICE
We intend to eliminate waiting inside the practice and at reception. Appointments will be staggered so that patients do not arrive or leave at the same time.
Please do not bring family members with you. Only one patient will be allowed in the building (exception for a child or disabled patient, who may have one person accompanying them). Only bring essential items with you and keep these to a minimum, please avoid bringing large items, e.g. large bags, cases, shopping bags.
The front door of the practice will be kept locked and patients are asked to attend at their appointment time and not earlier. A sign “wait here” will be displayed in the front lobby.
All magazines, toys, patient information leaflets and refreshment facilities have been removed to reduce opportunities for cross-infection. The practice and surgeries may appear quite bare when you attend. We would ask patients to go to the toilet before they leave home. If you do need to use it in an emergency, please inform a member of staff first so that it can be cleaned afterwards.
All clinical and common areas including door handles and surfaces will be regularly disinfected in addition to our normal surface cleaning protocols between patients. We will be providing a minimum 30 minute buffer period between patients to allow additional time for these measures and decontamination procedures, allow for any treatment overruns and allow preparation time for the next patient.
There will be a screen at reception to protect and socially distance receptionists and patients.
We will be operating card payments only, and kindly request that you avoid cash payments at the reception desk. The card machine will be wiped after each use.
MEETING THE DENTIST/NURSE
You will be met at the door by either the dentist or nurse who will be wearing masks, visors and aprons.
You will be provided with a mask that you must wear at all times except when being treated, and shoe covers.
We will take your temperature with a no-touch thermometer. If your temperature is within the orange or red field or above 37.8 degree’s we will be unable to proceed with your treatment. You will be asked to return home and self-isolate as per current government guidelines. Only if your temperature indicates green, will we be able to treat you.
You will be asked the COVID-19 risk assessment questions, if there is any suggestion that you are unwell you will be asked to leave immediately. If there are no concerns then you will be asked to use the hand sanitiser.
You will be accompanied directly to the surgery where you will be asked to:
1. Put your valuables in a clean, clear bag or plastic box.
2. Remove the mask.
3. Use a virucidal pre-rinse (1% hydrogen peroxide).
At the end of the appointment, you will be asked to replace the facemask, use the alcohol hand rub, collect your belongings.
Further appointments and fees payable can then be made at reception prior to leaving.
All dental staff will be using personal protective equipment in line with current recommendations for their job role, procedure risk and evidence. We may look very different and whilst our masks may make us appear impersonal and distant, please be assured we are still the same friendly team underneath it all. We apologise in advance for the necessary reduction in social interaction that this may necessitate.
We are especially mindful that many dental treatments are aerosol-generating procedures (AGP’s). It is difficult for us to carry out some dental procedures without generation of some level of aerosol.
Aerosol suspended in the air is a theoretical source of infection which we obviously wish to keep to a minimum. Currently, dental literature suggests:
• Use of our normal high-volume suction reduces aerosol production by over 90%.
• The use of a dental rubber dam where possible reduces bio aerosols by a further 30 to 90%.
• Our regular facemasks filter approximately 60% of remaining airborne particles.
• FFP2 and FFP3 masks filter 94% and 99% respectively of airborne particles in both directions (patient to clinician and clinician to patient).
Rubber dam or other barrier mechanisms will be used for more procedures than previously.
We, therefore, feel that our normal dental procedures can be carried out with minimal risk by the use of high-volume suction, rubber dam and FFP2/3 masks as appropriate, and thorough surface cleaning after the appointment.
1. Risk assessment of COVID-19 status: you will be asked questions relating to whether you have tested positive for coronavirus or currently have the symptoms of COVID-19 when we confirm your appointment by phone and then again as you enter the building.
2. The scheduling and confirmation of the appointment will be based on your ‘risk’ status and the nature of the treatment planned. If we feel there is a possibility of having been infected, even if you are asymptomatic, we will respectfully request for you to delay booking any appointments with us for 1 month and to follow government guidelines regarding testing and self-isolating.
3. Please be sensitive to the vulnerability of others to this disease. If you have symptoms, do not attend.
4. Currently, we recommend that patients in the high-risk groups for developing complications from coronavirus delay any non-essential dental treatment if possible, until the trend of the pandemic becomes clear.
5. If you are in a high-risk group and do want an appointment or require treatment, we will schedule your appointment at the beginning of the day.
6. In some cases, the dentist will contact a patient prior to their appointment to assess what procedure she is likely to need to carry out and therefore its risk level to allow us to plan appropriately.
7. The staff and dentists will also complete a health risk assessment as they enter the building at the beginning of the day and will be sent home for testing if they display signs of the disease.
This policy will be constantly reviewed and updated as necessitated by circumstances over time. If you have any questions regarding this guidance or about your dental care, please do not hesitate to contact us on: firstname.lastname@example.org
We thank you for all your patience and understanding and look forward to seeing you soon!