We are writing to inform you of our reopening policy and our intention to reopen the practice on Monday 8th June. Whilst we would like to keep things as normal as possible, due to the Covid-19 pandemic there will be some changes to the ‘patient journey’ at the practice.
We would like to thank all of our patients for bearing with us during the period of temporary practice closure and for your 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.
The practice will re-open initially for patients who require essential dental treatment. This will be extended to other patient groups as the lockdown restrictions are eased further. The GSD team will prepare the practice for reopening and practising our updated procedures before patients return to the practice.
We will initially be seeing:
• Patients with dental pain or other emergency dental problems that require urgent assessment and treatment.
When the lockdown restrictions are further lifted we will be able to see :
• Patients with treatment that was not completed prior to the lockdown
• Patients who were due for routine examinations and hygienist visits during the period of closure
• 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 GSD, update their standard medical and dental history forms beforehand. These forms will now be in electronic format 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 practice.
At GSD our normal cross-infection control protocols 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 at least two 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. 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, 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 accordingly
GSD will be operating contactless payment systems going forwards. This reduces the requirement for unnecessary contact or use of pin entries on the card terminal 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. Once at the practice, we will meet all patients outside the lobby of the practice and bring them straight into the surgery where possible. For children’s appointments only one adult may 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.
When you attend the practice, you will find the reception door will be locked but a member of the reception team will allow you into the premises where you will be seated in the lobby entrance. We may 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.
For patients safety, we intend to eliminate waiting inside the practice, the lounge will be closed for the time being. Regretfully for the same reason, the bathroom will also be closed so please do your ensure that you have cleaned your mouth and
had a comfort break before coming for your appointment.
Appointments will be staggered accordingly so that patients do not arrive or leave at the same time as other patients as far as we are able to manage. For this reason, please ensure that you do not arrive too early for your appointment.
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 lobby area then thoroughly wash your hands for 30 seconds with the antiseptic handwash provided in the surgery. We may ask you to use a Hydrogen Peroxide mouthwash before some dental treatments are provided. Rubber dam or other intra-oral barrier mechanisms will be used for more procedures than previously.
The GSD 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. We regret that during this interim period, we will not be providing our filtered water machine 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. GSD will be providing a buffer period between patients to allow extra time for additional decontamination procedures, allow for any treatment overruns and allow preparation time for the next patient.
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 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 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.
Due to the financial impact of the Coronavirus, GSD will be adjusting its normal fees where necessary to allow for the extra time taken to carry out treatment and the extra protective equipment required for the procedure.
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. This policy 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 at Garden Square Dental please do not hesitate to contact us on firstname.lastname@example.org
Amer, Sofi, Prabha and the Garden Square team.