Having been open for just over a month now, it is time to update you on how things have been going. As we are still not fully out of lockdown, we are strictly adhering to measures and procedures so that social distancing and other processes to minimise cross infection, are observed to reduce spread of the virus.
I have been told by some of my patients that their visit to us is their first trip out since lock down began. I appreciate the trust put in us.
We have been able to carry out any necessary treatment with little disruption or change to the clinical procedure. What has changed is the movement of patients through the practice. Patients have been very understanding with regard to our timings and protocols, such as waiting outside until called in for their appointment.
From a personal perspective, wearing heavy duty facemasks with a visor and my magnifying glasses, along with a plastic gown for extended periods has its challenges. Not least is the difficulty communicating with patients and my wonderful staff during and after treatment. The ‘fallow’ time following aerosol production when drilling, (we must vacate the room for 1 hour to allow aerosols to disperse), has meant that I am currently using both surgeries to see patients in order to maximise the efficiency with which we work. Sadly, that means that Leigh Ann and I cannot work at the same time and we cannot see as many patients as we have previously.
I am also pleased to say that the hygienists have returned to work, although currently, we are trying to avoid production of aerosols, which means they are only using hand scaling techniques.
Overall, it is good to be back at work and being able to help our patients, and I believe we are now caught up with the back log of dental issues from the lockdown period. This means we are now booking routine check-ups.
Dentists are well used to very high levels of cross-infection control and are thus well placed to deal with these measures. The extra demands now in place in dealing with the current crisis coupled with the massive increase in price of the PPE we must wear has meant that we find it necessary to add a small charge of £16.00 when we perform aerosol generating procedures . This is to cover the cost of additional PPE for both dentist and nurse and will only be in place until the situation settles. You will note that we have not increased our fees and we do not add this charge to procedures that do not create an aerosol such as check-ups and hygienist appointments.