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 can be reopened 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 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 greatly appreciate your assistance with any new or modified procedures at the practice.
Phase 1 – The practice will re-open for patients who
require essential dental treatment on Tuesday 9th June 2020.
This will be extended to other patient groups as the lockdown restrictions are eased further and we proceed to the next phase.
The Pro dental 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 emergency problems or other dental problems that require urgent assessment and treatment.
Phase 2 – 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
- Patients undergoing dental implant surgery
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 Pro Dental update their standard medical and dental history forms beforehand align with the contact preference. These forms will now be in electronic format and we will no longer be using paper forms. (We recommend for the purpose of communicating with the clinic you allow us to update your contact preference to SMS, Email and Phone).
The assessment forms include a new section which will allow us to assess your level of risk for coronavirus infection before you attend the surgery, these questions will also be asked when the practice is making contact prior to your appointment.
Our team will be in contact as soon as possible to rebook cancelled appointments and extend the range of treatments available. it is expected dentists’ return will be in phases but initially, dental emergencies will be prioritised and as such, patients who have contacted us during our closure should expect our team to be in touch within the next few days.
You will find that appointment availabilities are more limited than usual thus we may only be able to offer you one or two alternative booking times.
We will ask that you please use the restroom facilities at home as we would not be able to provide these for the time being. Remember to brush your teeth at home before your appointment and try not to eat or drink anything until after your appointment.
Our practice door will be closed, we ask that you knock , call or ring the bell if this is available when you arrive so that one of our staff members can allow you at the time of your appointment.
Our team has been busy over the last few weeks trying to actively procure appropriate supplies, prepare new protocols and undergo training for us to remain compliant and safe for your visit.
As a result of the ongoing protection equipment shortage and additional supplies required for us to safely see you again, we had to introduced a £25 COVID-19 Protection charge for all patients requiring aerosol generating procedures. These procedures carry higher risks and require enhanced protection equipment to enable the team to provide you with treatment.
You will notice that we have increased some of our fees to allow the continuance of high standard dental treatments with the best materials and equipment available to us. Our emergency appointment fee is £180 for all patients and treatment costs are separate.
You will see some key changes affecting your visit when you next see us. We made these changes to help protect patients and staff. Refusal to comply with them will unfortunately mean we cannot treat you.
NEW MEASURES TO REDUCE THE RISK OF COVID-19 TRANSMISSION
Our normal cross-infection control protocols at Pro Dental 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.
BEFORE ATTENDING 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 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 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 https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/people-at-higher-risk-from-coronavirus/.
Pro Dental Clinic will be operating contactless payment systems going forwards, and we will request that payment is made online 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, if you do not have means for card payment then cash must be paid to the nurse in a sealed plastic sandwich type bag.
When travelling to the practice, we would recommend that you limit close contact with other members of the public as far as possible. We will meet all patients outside the building and bring them 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.
ARRIVING AT THE PRACTICE
When you attend the practice, we will welcome you, and ask for you to hang your coat or jacket at the bottom of the stairwell entrance to the practice. 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.
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 at the bottom of the entrance stairwell/reception area or thoroughly wash your hands for 30 seconds with the antiseptic hand wash provided in the surgery.
We may ask you to use a Hydrogen Peroxide mouthwash before some dental treatments are provided Rubber dam or other barrier mechanisms will be used for more procedures than previously.
The Pro 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, The reception water dispenser will be out of use also.
All clinical and common areas including door handles and surfaces will be regularly disinfected in addition to our normal surface cleaning protocols between patients.
Pro Dental 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 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).
We therefore feel that our normal dental procedures can be carried out with minimal risk by the use of high-volume suction, rubberdam, surgical and FFP2 masks and, in aerosol generating procedures FFP3 masks as appropriate.
Despite the financial impact of the coronavirus, Pro Dental will not be increasing all of our normal fees unless absolutely necessary. However, the time taken to carry out treatment sessions may need to be extended which will be included into the fees for your 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 The Pro Dental Clinic please do not hesitate to contact us on email@example.com