This policy has been created based on multiple updated sources including FGDP (Faculty of Dental Practitioners), British Dental Association (BDA), General Dental Council (GDC) and the Care Quality Comission (CQC). We have also carefully considered the advice issued by the office of the Chief Dental Officer (OCDO) for England and reviewed the limited scientific evidence published by multiple organisations in both the medical and dental professions.
This policy outlines modifications to our normal procedures we now employ to keep everyone safe. This includes all patients, visitors and staff alike.
It is not known at this time whether these procedures are temporary or whether they will become a permanent feature of the way dental practices must be run to ensure patient and staff safety in the future. The worldwide COVID-19 pandemic is still being evaluated and studied and policies and recommendations are likely to change in line with new scientific evidence over time.
We would like to thank all of our patients for their patience and forbearance during this time and for their understanding and co-operation whilst we implement new measures at the practice.
We will of course be providing dental care to all of our patients in the safest possible environment. We greatly appreciate your assistance with accepting this “new normal”.
The practice is now open. If you are a patient of Park Street Dental Practice, please ring us for advice. It is very important that you don’t attend in person until you have called us first. You will be made an appointment for a call back from a dentist and we will triage your problem first. If considered necessary, a face to face appointment will then be arranged.
If you are registered at a different practice – please call your practice and if appropriate, you will be referred to us following guidelines issued by NHS England, by your own dentist.
This will be extended to other patient groups as the lockdown restrictions are eased further.
New protocols are in place governing how we deliver treatment.
This page will explain what to expect when we do see you.
The team have prepared the practice for re-opening.
Patient communication before re-opening
• We will be contacting patients and arranging appointments by telephone.
• We may request that patients who are attending for an appointment update their standard medical forms beforehand. These forms will now be in electronic format and we will no longer be using paper forms. Where appropriate, these will be emailed to you.
• We will run through a series of questions with you over the phone to complete a “coronavirus risk assessment”.
• You will receive a text reminder the day before your scheduled appointment. This will include a reminder to advise us immediately if you have had any symptoms of coronavirus These include: a new continuous cough, high temperature or loss of sense of taste or smell.
Transmission of infection
Our normal cross-infection control protocols against all previously known pathogens are already woven into all clinical activity carried out at the practice. These measures are effective to kill all viruses.
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 in dentists or their staff.
We have collectively evaluated all of the updated guidance and observed what measures have been put in place in other countries. 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 of our clinical staff will also be complying with our updated procedures to reduce the risk of cross infection in both directions.
Before attending the practice
We will carry out a pre-attendance assessment with you over the phone to assess relative coronavirus infection risk.
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 one month.
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. Patients are considered high risk if they have certain pre-existing medical conditions or if their doctor has advised them that they should remain shielded.
Park Street Dental Practice will be operating contactless payment systems for the foreseeable future, and we may request that payment is made over the phone for your appointment prior to you attending if you do not have a means of making contactless payment at the time of your visit. This reduces the requirement for unnecessary contact or use of pin entries on card terminals at reception. In some cases, if your proposed treatment is above the maximum contactless payment, we may ask you to use the card terminal. This will be thoroughly disinfected after use.
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.
When you attend the practice please wait in your car and wait for us to ring you – keep your mobile phone handy.
If you arrive on public transport then please try to arrive at the practice on time (and not too early because we are limiting the number of patients allowed into the practice. The front door will remain locked. We will take your temperature with a no-touch 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 intend to eliminate waiting inside the practice and at reception. Accordingly, appointments will be staggered so that patients do not arrive or leave at the same time as other patients as far as we are able to manage.
We have taken the decision to close the practice WC. Please ensure you visit the WC before attending.
Use the hand sanitiser in the staging area.
The Park Street Dental Practice 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. All clinical and common areas including door handles and surfaces will be regularly disinfected in addition to our normal surface cleaning protocols between patients.
We will be providing a buffer period between patients to allow additional time for additional decontamination procedures, allow for any treatment overruns and allow preparation time for the next patient so that they do not need to wait in the reception area.
All future appointments will be made and confirmed by telephone to limit your time spent at reception.
All dental staff will be using personal protective equipment (PPE) 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:
Our use of our normal high-volume suction reduces aerosol production by over 90%. The use of dental rubber dam where possible reduces aerosols by a further 30-90%. Our regular surgical face masks filter approximately 60% of remaining airborne particles. FFP2 and FFP3 masks filter 94% and 99% respectively of airborne particles in both directions (patient to clinician and clinician to patient).
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 masks and, in aerosol generating procedures, FFP3 masks as appropriate.
The vast majority of our patients are otherwise healthy without coronavirus infection. We are confident that we are able to provide dental care for these patients in as normal an environment as possible, whilst bearing in mind our responsibilities to mitigate the risks of infection spread as far as is practically possible. This policy will be constantly reviewed and updated as necessitated by circumstances over time.