COVID challenges & solutions in Dentistry

We thought it useful to for our patients to summarise the main challenges in providing dentistry during the covid pandemic and the solutions we have adopted to reduce these risks.

Challenges: Patient numbers and flow.

         As a multi surgery practice during normal periods of operation we experience a large number of patients in the practice and a large proportion of our patient interactions, administrations and payments taking place in reception.

Solutions:   Online Consultations

We are providing a full range of online consultations (video/phone) in order to reduce the amount of time patients spend in the practice.

For free initial consultation please click here.

For urgent care and follow up care please contact our practice directly here and our team will assist you personally.

Solutions: Contactless online forms

Many of our pre-appointment administration steps such as updating medical history & COVID questionnaires or consent will now be completed online prior to appointment, our team are available to support those patients who are unable to use digital services.

 Solution: spaced bookings and personal greeters.

During the initial stages of our reopening, all our appointments will be more spaced out and the individual arrival and departure of every patient will be managed by our team. Each patient will be personally greeted on arrival to the practice and escorted to their designated treatment room or reception.

Challenges: Proximity during treatment and distancing within the practice

         Due to the nature of dentistry it is not possible to carry out dental procedures whilst maintaining social distancing. During normal times the number of patients arriving, departing and in the practice can be high making social distancing difficult throughout the practice.

Solutions: Dental Team enhanced protocols and PPE

         As part of our updated COVID SOP (standar operating procedure) which can be found here. Our team will be carrying out treatments under with high level PPE and enhanced protocols, including additional time and types of deep cleaning following treatments.

Solution: Patient COVID protocol

         All patients are required to arrive at the practice wearing a face covering.  

         All patients must follow our patient COVID protocol, which can be found here.

Challenges: Variations in patient groups and needs

         As a general and specialist practice we have a wide range of patient groups, including but not limited to vulnerable patients, phobic patients and children, all these groups of patients have varied needs and risk associated with them which need to be carefully managed.

Solutions:   Pre screening questionnaire and zonings following screening

         All patients will be asked to complete a covid screening from our reception team, patients will be categorised based on

  • Covid Risk status
  • Procedure type needed

Patients will be offered specific time slots dependant on the above factors to help us to reduce the risks for our more vulnerable patient groups to coming into contact with other patients and additional team member.

Challenge:  AGP’s (Aerosol generating procedures)

         There has been some evidence to show that aerosol generating procedures such as the use of hand piece and deep cleaning equipment.

The evidence on this is still emerging and different countries have recommended different regulations and protocols with regards to this.

Solutions:

AGP – PPE

We have enhanced our PPE procedures for these treatments including the use of full coverage gowns, face visors and respiratory masks for our team.

For each treatment of AGP we will also have a second room being used reserved for putting on and removing of our clinical teams PPE.

AGP – Clinical steps

We will additionally be implementing additional equipment during treatments such as but not limited to rubber dam and additional high volume suction to reduce these aerosol.

Fallow time and deep cleaning

We have at this stage added a ‘fallow time’ following each AGP.

In this context ‘fallow time’ is an additional time added to the end of an AGP procedure to allow the air to be cleaned prior to our staff re-entering the room to deep clean prior to its next use.

DEFINITIONS:

AGP            : A dental procedure using equipment which generates an aerosol examples include deep cleaning and use of the dental hand pieces.

Non-AGP    : A dental procedure which does generates an aerosol, examples include examinations, hand scaling and temporary fillings.