The safety and well being of our patients and staff is our first priority. We therefore want to make sure that all the new covid-19 government guidelines and recommendations, which were updated and only made available to us on 5th June 2020, are in place before we start seeing patients.
The Dental Gallery Team will be preparing the practice for reopening, and practising our updated procedures, before patients return to the practice.
The practice re-opened for patients on 15th June 2020. In line with government guidelines and recommendations, we had a phased return to work. We will prioritise patients who need urgent and essential treatments and will therefore be limited in the types of treatments we can offer in the initial opening phase.
We will initially prioritise seeing:
This will then be extended to other patient groups as we complete the initial phase. We will then be able to see:
During the Covid-19 pandemic the front door of the practice will remain locked. All patients need to call the practice if they want to be seen.
All patients will be triaged on the phone by the receptionist and a dentist or a qualified dental nurse before booking their appointments.
We will be contacting patients and confirming appointments ahead of their scheduled time.
We will request that, prior to attending The Dental Gallery, all patients update their standard medical and dental history forms. Patients will also be asked to complete the covid-19 risk assessment and practice visit consent forms. 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 surgery.
We will be using our secure patient portal system for sending and receiving the forms and also for other communications such as treatment plans. This will help minimise patient contact with the reception staff.
Our normal cross-infection control protocols at The Dental Gallery 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 amongst dentists or their staff.
We have evaluated all the current updated guidance from the Faculty of General Dental Practice, the British Dental Association, NHS England, the CQC and the Public Health England and 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 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 using your completed Medical History/Assessment forms before your appointment and, if necessary, a follow-up telephone conversation to assess relative co onavirus 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 telephone 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 14 days. If we do not receive the completed forms 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 in line with 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.
The Dental Gallery will be operating contactless payment systems going forwards, and we will kindly request that payment is made over the phone for your appointment prior to you attending. This reduces the requirement for unnecessary contact or use of pin entries on card terminals at reception. If this is not possible you will be able to make payment at the practice.
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.
We will also ask all patients to limit what they bring into the building.
When you attend the practice, we will welcome you and take your temperature with a notouch 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 will also double check your medical history and your covid-19 risk assessment to ensure there are no changes.
Once you enter the building we will ask you to use our hand sanitiser in the reception area and leave your jacket and personal belongings inside a box at reception. The front door will remain locked, however we cannot accept liability for personal items so please limit what you bring into the building.
During the Covid-19 Pandemic our patient toilets will not be in use. We intend to eliminate waiting inside the practice and at reception. In so far as we canmanage this, appointments will be staggered so that patients do not arrive or leave at the same time.
Once we have made sure you are well, we will direct you straight into the surgery. If the surgery is unavailable, you will be asked to wear a face mask and take a seat in the waiting room.
To minimise the risk of transmission of covid-19:
The Dental Gallery 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.
All clinical and common areas including door handles and surfaces will be regularly disinfected in addition to our normal surface cleaning protocols between patients.
The Dental Gallery will be providing a buffer period between patients to allow ample time for additional decontamination procedures, to allow for any treatment overruns, and to allow preparation time for the next patient.
Due to these additional safety measure we will be seeing fewer numbers of patients than before.
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:
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 / FFP3 masks as appropriate.
Due the financial impact of the coronavirus, we may have to increase the fees for some of our treatments. The time taken to carry out the treatment sessions may need to be extended, and this may also need to be reflected in the fees quoted.
The vast majority of our patients are healthy, without coronavirus infection, and we are confident that we are able to provide dental care for our patients in as normal an environment as possible. However, we must bear 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 and by government guidelines over time.