The current working procedures have been created based on multiple updated sources from within the dental and medical professions and the government.
It outlines modifications to our normal working procedures that we intend to employ whilst opening our practices during the COVID-19 pandemic.
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 now and 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 of temporary practice closure 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.
Current working practices – From October 2020
We will be seeing:
The practice will be open and as per current regulations, we will have strict criteria on how patients can be seen safely within the practice.
If you are an NHS Patient and you are experiencing a dental problem you will be offered a telephone call back by one of our dentists once you have completed a dental emergency questionnaire (that will be provided by the practice via an email). The dentist will provide an assessment, advice and prescription of pain relief or antibiotics if necessary. If the dentist feels you need to be seen, then you will be offered either a face to face appointment with one of our dentists (if we can do the treatment in-house) or a referral to a local urgent dental care hub for the treatment (if we are unable to perform that treatment in-house).
The urgent dental care clinic will perform its own telephone assessment and will decide if you meet their criteria. We have no control over the time frame for this. We cannot guarantee when your appointment will be as it is a service not linked with our practice.
What treatments are we allowed to perform:
Dentists are required to adopt a safe approach to patient care during the COVID-19 pandemic, only performing an aerosol generating procedure when necessary. An aerosol is created from the use of the dental drills inside and outside of the mouth and the air and water syringe jets.
Whilst ever effort is being made to recommence routine dental care for our patients, priority will be given to performing emergency treatments, which currently in the pandemic may be limited to:
- Intra-oral and extra oral x-rays
- Prescription of analgesics and antibiotics
- Temporary fillings
- Extraction of broken / infected teeth
- Recementing loose crowns / bridges
- Adjustment to dentures
Current appointments booked:
All appointments that are currently in the diary up until December 31st for routine care e.g. dental examinations have been automatically cancelled. We will contact you in due course to rearrange any missed scheduled appointments.
We are aware of all patients who were mid-treatment when the COVID 19 pandemic forced dental practices to be closed. You do not need to call us regarding this – our reception team will be in touch to arrange re-commencement of your treatment as soon as we are able to bring patients into the practice safely.
From June 10th, if you need face to face urgent dental care there will be availability to all our private patients for these appointments. When we recommence booking of routine dental care – there will always be appointment slots for our Private patients so that there is no delay in you being seen.
We will be contacting patients and confirming appointments ahead of their scheduled time. • We will request that all patients who are attending our practice to update their standard medical and dental history forms. These forms will now be available on our electronic devices at the practice and we will no longer be using paper forms. • The assessment forms include a new section which will allow us to assess your level of risk for coronavirus infection before you attend the surgery. This is to ensure the safety of our patients and staff.
New measures to reduce the risk of COVID-19
Our staff are working tirelessly to ensure visit to us is a safe and efficient as possible and we have introduced many new measures. Some of these are outlined below.
Our normal cross-infection control protocols at the practices 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.
We will carry out a pre-attendance assessment via your completed Medical History/Assessment forms before your appointment and, if necessary. If we 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 10 days.
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 are still able to see you and have put in measures to ensure the safety of all our patients.
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 outside the building and bring them straight into surgery when it is safe to do so. 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 away from the building.
Appointment times: 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.
If you fail to attend the appointment you may be charged for the appointment as per our normal terms and conditions.
Our practice will be operating contactless payment systems going forward (wherever possible). we will request one of the following:
• contactless payment at the time of your visit (This reduces the requirement for unnecessary contact or use of pin entries on card terminals at reception)
• payment over the phone (this maybe prior to your appointment– in certain circumstances)
• We would rather not take payments via cash due to the safety and well-being of all staff – however if the other methods of payment mentioned above are not possible – cash will still be accepted
BY CAR -If you are arriving by car and the practice has a car park – please park safely, leave your belongings in the cars (except for payment method and any medications you require for your duration at the practice, face covering whilst you are waiting in the queue and whilst you are in the building you will be advised when it is safe to remove your face covering). Please then join the queue at the front of the practice where a team member will greet you and give you further instructions they will ask for your car registration details. Please ensure you are keeping 2m away from people from another household at all times.
ON FOOT - ON FOOT - If you are arriving by foot, please then join the queue at the front of the practice where a team member will greet you and give you further instructions. Please ensure you are keeping 2m away from people from another household at all times and wear a face covering whilst you are waiting in the queue and whilst you are in the building you will be advised when it is safe to remove your face covering. The front door will remain locked; however, we cannot accept liability for personal items so please limit what you bring into the building.
We kindly ask that you wear a protective face covering whilst waiting outside the practice, upon entering the practice and until you take a seat into the dental chair.
We kindly ask that you wear a protective face covering whilst waiting outside the practice, upon entering the practice and until you take a seat into the dental chair. 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. If you are well, we will allow you to enter the practice, place your personal items into the sealed box and ask you to disinfect your hands with an alcohol based gel. A member of the team will then direct you straight to the surgery and request that you do not touch any walls or door handles on your route to the surgery.
We intend to eliminate waiting inside the practice and at reception.
If you are well, we will allow you to enter the practice, place your personal items into the sealed box and ask you to disinfect your hands with an alcohol based gel.
A member of the team will then direct you straight to the surgery and request that you do not touch any walls or door handles on your route to the surgery.
The following may apply:
1.You will be asked to take a seat and the dentist will advise you when it is safe to remove your face covering.
2. Your dentist and dental nurse will already be dressed in the appropriate level of PPE for the procedure you are having.
3. Rubber dam or other barrier mechanisms will be used for more procedures than previously.
4. Before leaving the surgery patients will be asked to use the hand sanitiser provided and asked to place face coverings back on before leaving the surgery.
The restrooms will be locked as we would like to limit the usage as much as practically possible. Should you need to use them please contact a staff member. If you must use the restrooms, please do your best to ensure that you leave the facilities as you would expect to find them and wash your hands thoroughly for at least 20 seconds. The restrooms will be regularly disinfected.
The practice 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 team 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 they do not need to wait in the reception area. Please bare with us during this difficult time as there may be delays whilst operating to these standards.
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 may make us appear impersonal and distant, please be assured we are still the same friendly team underneath it all!
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. We are taking extra precautions for these procedures and are allowing enough time for the room to be disinfected in between each patient. Currently the dental literature suggests: Our use of our normal high-volume suction reduces aerosol production by over 90%. The use of dental rubber dam where possible reduces bioaerosols by a further 30 to 90%. Our regular surgical 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 the patient).
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 and FFP2 masks and, in aerosol-generating procedures FFP3 masks as appropriate.
Despite the financial impact of the coronavirus, our practice will not be increasing its normal fees unless absolutely necessary. However, the time taken to carry out treatment sessions may need to be extended which will be included into the fees for your procedure. This will not apply to NHS treatment. NHS will be subject to availability, what we are permitted to do on the NHS and there may be delays in being seen whilst we operate in a restricted capacity. All dental staff will be using personal protective equipment in line with current recommendations and evidence.
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.
The current working procedures 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, please do not hesitate to contact us at the practice, by phone or by email.
With Kind Regards,
The Oradent Dental Care team.