To confirm details of our operating procedures with effect from 1st June 2020. This document sets out briefly what you can expect from us when you attend a dental appointment from 1st June.
You should expect a telephone call one working day before your appointment to check your health status and we will place you in one of four categories which will allow us to assess risk:
CATEGORY 1 – if you or anyone in your household has had COVID or COVID symptoms in the past 7 days we WILL NOT see you for 14 days (a residual cough after recovery from COVID is acceptable)
CATEGORY 2 – if you are shielding a family member or are shielding yourself due to being at most significant risk from COVID we would STRONGLY ADVISE you to consider deferring your appointment
CATEGORY 3 – if you are vulnerable or at increased risk of severe illness (over 70, asthmatic, etc) we will discuss the risks with you and allow you to form your own judgement
CATEGORY 4 – none of the above
You should also be aware that a referral to an NHS Urgent Dental Care centre remains an option for now – but you are less likely to be given choices about your care and extractions are the most likely outcome.
All patients should have completed basic medical details via the patient portal, details of which will be sent when your appointment is confirmed. Any patient unable to do this will be provided with a pair of disposable gloves to wear whilst handling the tablet or pens.
Upon arrival and during treatment
Please do not arrive early, but instead arrive at the allocated time and wait outside the front door. The waiting room should never need to become crowded. We will invite you to enter (alone where possible), and with as little baggage as possible. We will take your temperature – if it is over 37.9 degrees we will have to send you home and call you to rebook the appointment. We will then ask you to leave your belongings in reception and wash and santise your hands. Category 2 and 3 patients will be asked to wear a surgical mask until the point where we are ready to look inside your mouth. You can expect us to be dressed a little more protectively than normal, depending upon what treatment you are due to undergo. You will be asked to rinse your mouth with an antiviral mouthrinse before we look inside it. We will carry out the treatment to our usual high standard, but some procedures may be different and we may need to omit certain aspects of hygiene treatment for a little while. As ever, we will be on hand to deliver effective anaesthesia so treatment should be as pain free as ever.
Personal protective equipement
Everyone is now familiar with the abbreviation PPE, and this pandemic has highlighted just how fragile a commodity this is. PPE is in huge demand which pushes up prices. For instance, a box of 50 simple surgical masks that I used to buy for £4.50 is now retailing for over £35 and has been as high as £50. This, combined with the significant additional PPE required for some dental procedures means that we will be temporarily applying a PPE non-profit surcharge of £25 per patient per visit. Our trade body, the BDA, estimates the cost of PPE at up to £38 per patient but I am confident this will come down in time. I also want to swallow some of the cost as a gesture of my gratitude for your loyalty throughout this crisis. We will look to abolish this as soon as we are able, and I seek your understanding in this matter for several months until we are able to get back to “normal”.
After your leave
You should be aware that the surgery will be fogged with hypochlorous acid between patients after certain procedures for your own safety and that this is an effective way of removing virus particles suspended in the air. This procedure requires a fallow time during which the surgery has to be vacated, which substantially reduces throughput. Fogging has been used by many of the major airlines during the pandemic to ensure all nooks and crannies in aircraft cabins are thoroughly disinfected and that they can continue to be used safely.
It is our intention to take payments by credit or debit card as far as possible, so I would request that you avoid paying by cash or cheque if you can. I fully accept that this is not always possible. Some payments will be requested the day before or the day after treatment over the telephone to reduce the usage of the card terminal.
Finally, we are hugely excited to see you again and look forward to being able to get back to work!