Our regular infection control measures guard against all previously known pathogens and are already operational on a daily basis at our practice.
It should be remembered that the dental practice is already a very clean environment with regular use of masks, wiping down surfaces, and is generally safer than other public areas. There is no evidence so far of COVID-19 transmission occurring at increased rates in dental practices, especially in dentists and their staff.
We have built our procedures on the guidance in the UK, but also from procedures and guidance implemented in other countries. We feel that our procedures and protocols will help to minimise risks to both patients and staff, and all of our clinical staff will also be complying with the new protocols.
We will be contacting patients ahead of their appointment time for the following:
If you have previously had COVID-19, we will respectfully request that you defer booking in for at least one month. If we do not have your completed questionnaire in time for your appointment, and we are unable to contact you, then we may need to cancel your appointment. You may be charged for the appointment in line with our 48-hour cancellation policy.
It is recommended that all patients in the high-risk group or very high-risk group from COVID-19, should defer their attendance or treatments until the risk of the pandemic has passed. We are currently on Alert level 4, and it would be much safer to treat this group of patients when the general risks in the community have fallen, ie Alert level 2 or even better, Alert Level 1.
We are hoping to set up contactless payments at reception going forward. If you are unable to pay this way, then payments will be taken over the phone as much as possible.
When travelling to the practice, we ask that you limit contact with other members of the public as far as possible. We will ask you to wait outside for your appointment, and we will come to collect you from the door when it is your appointment time. You are welcome to park in one of our parking bays (if available) and wait in your car.
We ask that you attend your appointment alone, but if needed to chaperone a child, we ask for a one adult one child only policy to limit numbers of people attending at a given time. Please remember that any child under 16 must be chaperoned by an adult for consent purposes.
* A new, continuous cough means coughing for longer than an hour, or three or more coughing episodes in 24 hours. If the patient usually has a cough, it may be worse than usual.
The practice has had all non-essential items removed from the reception and surgeries for ease of cleaning and better infection control, so do not be surprised if the practice appears a little more ‘minimal’.
All door handles and touchpoints on doors/surfaces will be wiped down between patients to avoid cross-contamination. In addition to our normal cleaning protocols between patients.
There will be a buffer period between treatments to allow time for additional decontamination procedures and any possible overruns to treatment times – especially for emergency procedures. This is again to minimise patient crossover in the dental surgery. All future appointments may be made by telephone out of the surgery to minimise the time spent in the reception.
All staff will be wearing the appropriate PPE (personal protective equipment) in line with the current recommendations and evidence.
We apologise in advance if this makes us appear impersonal and unfriendly. We can assure you that we are the same friendly team, albeit in a strange disguise!
We are especially aware that many dental procedures are aerosol-generating procedures – AGP’s.
These risks are minimised by the use of:
In the current situation as you can imagine we have incurred considerably increased costs. These occur especially in sourcing PPE and for our treatment procedures, as our restrictions mean that the time taken per procedure will be longer. In order to stay afloat, we will need to apply a PPE charge of £10 per appointment for non-AGP procedures. This includes check-ups, hygiene appointments, extractions, and simple fillings that do not use the fast motors.
For the more complex treatments which require additional PPE and further waiting times between appointments, there will be a charge of £30 per appointment. This will all be planned and discussed with you beforehand and the fee policy will be revised periodically, as the restrictions ease.
We are sorry for the additional charges, as we know this has not been an easy time for many of us. We as a private practice received absolutely no support from the government, no grants at all, and have had to refinance to keep our business afloat. We are really keen to continue to support you in the long term, and I hope that these measures are short term pains for long term gains.
We are also in the process of rolling out our in-house maintenance plan. This will give you an easier way to afford the costs of treatment by paying on a monthly basis. The plans will be available to patients who are dentally fit, and not currently under a course of treatment. These plans offer good savings on our current prices and help our business too in that they help us to meet our escalating monthly costs.
We hope you understand the changes in fees and that we wanted to be as transparent with you as possible.
The majority of our patients are otherwise healthy without coronavirus infection. We are also confident that we can provide dental care in an environment with procedures modified to mitigate risks of infection to patients and staff as much as is practically possible.
This policy will be updated and reviewed as necessary as the guidelines and circumstances change.
If you have any question or concerns regarding the new workflow and procedures please do contact us on firstname.lastname@example.org
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