Dental Appointments During & Post COVID-19 Pandemic
Due to the COVID 19 pandemic, our practice has been following guidelines from the government and all the relevant healthcare bodies regarding management of our patients at the practice. The safety of our patients and all our staff is of primary importance to us. In following these guidelines, the practice was unable to carry out any routine dental procedures and were unable to do any face to face dentistry for the period of 3 months (March 2020 – June 2020). Due to this reason there is a huge backlog of patients who require attention and urgent care including those who were in the middle of a course of treatment, those with planned treatments and those who are regular attendees at our practice.
There have been many changes that we have had to implement at our practice including booking longer appointment times when necessary and minimising the number of people in our practices at any one time to provide a safe environment for all.
For this reason, we have had to review the current scenario following the lockdown and thus implement a policy for any patients who are not regular attendees or those who are non-registered.
Anyone who has not attended the practice in the last 2 years for a routine check-up/examination is considered a non-regular attendees.
For the avoidance of doubt, regular attendees are patients who attend for a routine check-up every 6 months to a year.
Anyone who has not been seen at the practice for a routine check-up/examination or has not registered their details with the practice before.
**The fees for non-regular and non-registered patients will be £50.00 (normally £90.00)**
As a healthcare provider, the safety of our staff, our patients and the general public is our main priority and we are constantly following the guidance from NHS England, BDA, FGDP, the UK Government and other governing bodies in relation to dentistry.
New Patient Protocols
We have always had very high levels of infection control in the practice but we have enhanced these measures even further to meet and go beyond new regulations and guidelines following the Covid pandemic.
You will, therefore, notice a number of changes when you have your next appointment. These will include:
Before your appointment
Before your appointment you will contacted by one of our team and will be asked to complete a short questionnaire regarding your overall general health. This is to ensure that you don’t have symptoms of Covid-19 when you come to the practice. You will be asked these questions again when you arrive at the practice.
On the day of your appointment
You will be asked to thoroughly brush your teeth before arrival to the practice. We also recommend that you go to the toilet at home before attending the practice, as our toilet will not be available to the public for safety reasons to help reduce contact and so limit the spread of the virus.
Where possible, you may be asked to wait in your car until your scheduled appointment time, this is to limit the number of patients in our waiting areas. We will be keeping waiting times to a minimum.
Appointments will be managed to allow us to maintain social distancing standards throughout the practice. This means that there may be fewer options when arranging your appointment, but we will be extending our opening hours to be able to increase the number of appointments we can offer you.
Entering the practice
You will be asked to wash your hands or to use hand sanitizer on entering the practice.
We will be taking and recording your temperature on arrival using a no-touch infrared thermometer.
You may be asked to wear certain personal protective items including face masks and other PPE as necessary. We will supply and dispose of these items for you.
Perspex shield or ‘germ-guards’ are being installed along the reception desk in the waiting room.
We ask that you always practice social distancing whilst in public areas and these areas will be marked-out accordingly.
If possible, we will request that you do not bring a companion with you, so we are able to limit number of people within the practice for their safety. If you do require assistance, one of our friendly team will be happy to help.
You may see that our waiting room will no longer offer magazines, children’s toys and so forth, since those items are difficult to clean and disinfect.
In the treatment room
You are likely to see your dentist/hygienist and nursing staff wearing additional Personal Protective Equipment (PPE).
Before any dental treatment you will be asked by the dentist to gargle and rinse with a specific antiseptic mouthwash.
For some treatments, we will open the windows for airflow reasons.
We will be using special equipment to decontaminate the surgery between each patient to ensure a safe virus-free environment. All communal areas of the practice will be decontaminated regularly during the day.
As much as possible we will make your journey as contactless as we can, therefore receipts and treatment plan will be emailed to you after your appointment. We would also appreciate it if payments are not made in cash. Card will be the preferred method of payment.
Certain review appointments, necessary follow-ups and initial consultations may be completely over the phone or by utilising video communications.
We are constantly monitoring best practice internationally and will continue to adapt our processes if we learn of further ways to ensure your safety and comfort during your dental care journey. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact the practice on 01344 620526
Again, we would like to thank you for your understanding and patience during these unprecedented times and we very much look forward to seeing you soon.
Dr Rajit Singh Panesar & Dr Dharmesh Barot