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 intend to employ now the practice has reopened since the COVID-19 pandemic peak has subsided.
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 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 will be seeing all patients as from 08.06.20
Patients with emergency problems or other dental problems that require urgent assessment and treatment; Patients with treatment that was not completed prior to the lockdown; Periodontal disease patients who are due hygiene treatment; Patients who are due orthodontic reviews. We will be contacting patients and confirming appointments ahead of their scheduled time.
We will request that all patients who are attending the practice update their standard medical and dental history forms beforehand using the new online paperless check in system. The medical history forms will be electronically texted with the appointment reminder 48 hours before your appointment.
NEW MEASURES TO REDUCE THE RISK OF COVID-19 TRANSMISSION
Our normal cross-infection control protocols at Castle Dental Care against all previously known pathogens are already second nature 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
Your completed Medical History/Assessment forms will be texted to you 48 hours prior to your appointment and our team will contact you to remind you of this if we have not received your completed forms. If you have any difficulties with completing the forms, we can help you with this over the phone. A dentist will triage you over the telephone to assess your dental problem prior to your visit. You will also be asked Covid 19 screening questions.
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 one month. If we do not receive the completed questionnaire in time and we are unable to contact you, there may be a delay to your appointment.
We recommend that patients in the high-risk groups for developing complications from coronavirus delay nonessential 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.
Castle Dental Care will request that payment is made over the phone for your appointment prior to you attending. This reduces the requirement for unnecessary contact or use of pin entries on card terminals at reception. When travelling to the practice, we would recommend that you limit close contact with other members of the public as far as possible. Where possible we will bring patients straight into the surgery. 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. We ask adults to attend alone unless accompanied by a carer.
We ask our patients to attend wearing a face covering or a mask.
ARRIVING AT THE PRACTICE
When you attend the practice, we will welcome you but the front door will remain locked. Patients will be asked to limit belongings they bring into the building any items which cannot be placed into pockets can be placed into a locker, you will keep the key at all times.
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. 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.
When using the restrooms, please do your best to ensure that you leave the facilities as you would expect to find them and wash your hand thoroughly. The restrooms will be regularly disinfected between patients. If you are well, we will direct you straight to the surgery and request that you do the following before and after your appointment: Use the hand sanitiser provided by the nurse.
Castle Dental Care 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 bannisters will be regularly disinfected in addition to our normal surface cleaning protocols between patients.
We 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.
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.
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 bio aerosols 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 patient).
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.