PS Dental Care
POST COVID-19 REOPENING POLICY
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 once the practice re-opens on the 8th of June, after 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 fortitude 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 that you will encounter from now on.
The practice will re-open for patients who require essential and urgent dental treatment on Monday the 8th of June.
This will be extended to other patient groups as the lockdown restrictions are eased further and once the UK moves down from Covid-19 Alert Level 4 (severe risk of transmission and high risk of infectivity).
The PS Dental Care team has been preparing the practice for reopening and practising our updated procedures before patients return to the practice. We will initially be seeing, following a telephone triage:
- Patients with emergency problems or other dental problems that require urgent assessment and treatment, after patient and treatment risk assessments As UK Covid-19 alert levels start to ease off we will gradually resume routine dental care provision including Aerosol generating procedures and exposures “AGP’s” and “AGE’s” (e.g. drilling teeth for fillings, veneers, crowns; polishing during hygienist or Invisalign treatments; surgical treatments including implants, etc).
Patient communication before reopening
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 History and Covid-19 Screening forms beforehand. These forms will now be in electronic format and we will no longer be using paper forms. Please access them below.
The screening form will allow us to assess your level of risk for coronavirus infection before you attend the surgery.
NEW MEASURES TO REDUCE THE RISK OF COVID-19 TRANSMISSION
Our normal cross-infection control protocols against all previously known pathogens are already integrated into all clinical activity carried out at PS Dental Care.
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
We will carry out a pre-attendance assessment via your completed Medical History/Assessment forms at least three days before your appointment and, if necessary, a follow-up telephone conversation to assess relative coronavirus infection risk. Our staff 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 may also carry out a video consultation with you to assess your dental problem prior to your visit so that a treatment plan and cost estimate can be sent to you.
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 questionnaires in time and we are unable to contact you, we may need to cancel your appointment. You may be charged for
the appointment if we are unable to fill it at short notice as per our normal terms and conditions.
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 the day. To find out whether you are in a high or very high-risk group please see the link here.
PS Dental Care will be operating contactless payment systems going forwards, and we will request that payment is made online, BACS or over the phone for your appointment prior to you attending if you do not have a means of making 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. For a full payment policy terms and conditions please refer to our Payment Policy form included on your “Pre-attendance pack” in Covid-19 section.
When travelling to the practice, we would recommend that you limit close contact with other
members of the public as far as possible. The street level door for the building will be open for ventilation. Once you make your way up to the first floor you will be asked to wait by the door and follow the instructions we will be giving you. One adult is able to attend with a child; please do not bring additional family members with you unless they are happy to wait outside the building.
ARRIVING AT THE PRACTICE
When you attend the practice, we will welcome you, and before you come in we will check your temperature and ask you to use shoe covers that will be provide. You should keep all personal belongings with you until further instructions. 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. 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 restroom, please do your best to ensure that you leave the facilities as you would expect to find them and wash your hand thoroughly. The restroom 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 or during your appointment: - Use the hand sanitiser in the reception area or - Thoroughly wash your hands for 30 seconds with the antiseptic hand wash provided in the surgery - Rubber dam or other barrier mechanisms will be used for more procedures than previously.
The PS Dental 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.
We regret that during this interim period, we will not be providing our normal tea and coffee services in the interests of reducing all opportunities for cross infection to a minimum.
All clinical and common areas including door handles and surfaces will be regularly disinfected in addition to our normal surface cleaning protocols between patients.
PS Dental Care 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 future appointments will be made and confirmed by email or telephone to limit your time spent at reception.
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 entail. 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 (e.g. drilling and using ultrasonic cleaning instruments). 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).
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.
As a consequence of the Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) necessary for the safe delivery of treatments enforced by the Covid-19 pandemic,there will be a small surcharge on the PPE for any treatment provided. This will be made known to you prior to your appointment. PS Dental Care is committed that this surcharge will be based on the average cost of PPE, and that will be available for your reference on your itemised bill.
To all our patients;
New guidelines from the Faculty of General Dental Practice & General Dentistry were issued on 1st June 2020. These guidelines ensure best practice and safety for both our patients and staff.
Advice for patients
Routine dentistry during COVID-19 requires the correct social distancing measures and personal protective equipment to be in place.
That's why, routine dentistry was suspended with the outbreak of coronavirus. In England, dentists can return to work from 8 June. A phased return is planned in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
What will dental appointments be like?
Practices will be working hard to source protective equipment and put measures in place to maintain social distancing measures. In England, many will not be able to offer all treatments from 8 June, but practices will need to prioritise their patients based upon their needs.
• If you call to make an appointment, you will be asked some screening questions. You’ll be asked those same questions again at your appointment
• You will be asked to use hand sanitiser or to wash your hands when you arrive (and again before you leave)
• You will also find that the waiting room might look a little different with distancing markers in place
• You will also notice that the dental team may be wearing different protective equipment to what you are used to seeing
• Appointments will be managed to allow for social distancing between patients. That might mean that you’re offered fewer options for scheduling your appointment.
Referrals for certain procedures
Even after your practice has re-opened, please be aware that you may need to be referred to an urgent care centre for treatment.
Some procedures won't be offered right away in every practice. The supply of essential PPE (particularly certain masks) dictates whether a dentist can offer aerosol-generating procedures. As a result, many practices will continue to triage their patients to urgent dental centres for such treatment.
How you can help:
• With the exception of children and persons in need, patients should come alone
• A distance of at least two metres must be observed if another patient is present in the dental practice
• Staff will not shake your hand
• If you show symptoms following appointment booking, you should contact the practice by phone
• Please do not arrive early to the practice. If necessary, you should wait outside the practice.
• Due to the social distancing restrictions, the amount of patients we are able to accommodate will be set accordingly. Late cancellation will be charged at the amount of £100 per half an hour. Late arrivals will result in disturbance of patient flow and therefore they will not be seen and they will be charged as above.
• Please do not arrive without an appointment.
• Patients should attend wearing a mask if possible or be prepared to wear one.
It will likely be some time before dental services return to what you previously experienced as normal.
However, your dental team at PS Dental Care will be doing all they can to ensure you receive the treatment you require in the safest way.
"Practice two things in your dealings with disease: either help or do not harm the patient", Hippocrates.
Please stay safe,
PS Dental Care team.
Advice for patients
PS Dental Care
Staff policy in practice
For additional information on our returning to work process view the 'BDA Returning to face-to-face care' toolkit