One of the many knock-on effects caused by COVID-19 has been the impact on oral health. Specifically, visiting the dentist.
On 24 March 2020, the coronavirus pandemic forced all dental practices in the UK to close, except for a number of emergency treatment hubs. For the next 2 months and 15 days, thousands of people had their appointments cancelled and treatment postponed.
This changed on 8 June, when dental practices in England were given the green light to reopen their doors.
Just like the retail sector, dental practices have needed to adapt to their new “normal” day-to-day routine. To help them reopen safely, dental practices have been handed a series of recommendations based on the latest evidence.
Any changes have been made to make your experience as safe and comfortable as possible. Here’s a summary of what you might expect at Long Street Dental.
Before you arrive
Before your visit, we will contact you to remind you of your appointment and to check whether you feel well. We will ask you questions about your health and also the people you live with. Nobody with any signs or symptoms of COVID-19 will be able to visit the practice.
Appointments can only be made by telephone or email. We ask that you DO NOT visit us without an appointment.
It is best that you arrive alone and on time (rather than too early). This will minimise your time in the waiting room. You will also be asked to wear a face mask or protective covering (unless you are exempt) when you enter the building. We also ask that you bring as few belongings with you as possible.
When you arrive
On arrival, please use the hand sanitiser which is situated at the entrance and also in the hallway, reception and throughout the building. You will see that we have installed protective screens in the reception area much like you see when you are shopping. We may check your temperature using either a forehead or ear thermometer.
When you enter the waiting room, you will notice that it has been reorganised for social distancing. We would ask that family groups stay in one zone as far as possible.
Changes to how dental teams work
The most important thing to know in the wake of the coronavirus, is how our dental teams are making sure you are safe during treatment.
Firstly, the treatment rooms are well ventilated. This means creating an airflow which does not recirculate and that old air can leave the room as quickly as possible. We have also installed air purifiers (virus killing RADIC-8 machines) in all the surgeries.
You will see that the dental team is wearing extra protective equipment, like PPE. As always, their equipment is fully sterilised.
All dental practices will be using equipment and techniques with a lower risk of spray. We have also tested and updated our high-volume aspiration systems to help minimise this.
Non-urgent procedures may be delayed and we are allowing more time between patients. This allows us to minimise patient interactions as far as possible. It also allows us to carry out additional decontamination procedures.
When you are leaving
The final changes during the new dental practice experience, is when you leave.
If you would like a printed appointment card, you will be asked to remove it from the printer and to stick it on your appointment card yourself.
It is safer for both you and our reception team, to pay with a contactless card if you can. We would prefer to minimise cash transactions if at all possible.
The appointment printer and card payment machine are also sanitised after every transaction.
If you need to sign and paperwork, please use your own pen or we can provide you with a new one to use and take home.
It is very important to us here at Long Street Dental, that you are comforted by the measures that are being taken. All changes have been made for the safety of staff and patients alike.
If you have any concerns or questions, please call us and we will endeavour to put your mind at ease and reassure you.