Post-COVID-19 Return To Dental Practice
We at Lichfield Dental Care take pride in making patient and staff safety a priority. Due to the COVID-19 outbreak, dentistry is having to change. Visiting the dentist is not the same experience that it used to be.
We have worked hard to update policies, retrain staff on the new working procedures, install new safety features and sourcing the required PPE.
In England, many practices will be able to offer treatments from 8th June, but practices will need to prioritise their patients based upon their needs.
Please keep in mind that a dental practice is already a very clean environment compared to public areas. The cross-infection control protocols that are in place here guard against all previously known pathogens. The unique characteristic of COVID-19 is its virulence and its ability to persist in the environment. This is of particular importance when we are carrying out active dental treatments i.e. fillings, ultrasonic scaling etc. Such treatments produce aerosol that can persist in the surgery even after completion of treatment.
We are resuming our dental services in phases. We appreciate your understanding that our first priority will be to treat patients with urgent problems.
Due to the new safer working patterns, there will be a limit to the number of patients that can be seen per day. We will only be allowing those patients to enter the surgery who have been given an appointment over the phone. So, please do not attend without an appointment as we will have no choice but to refuse entry. In due course, we will contact you and re-arrange your appointments.
We would like to thank all our patients for their understanding about the special procedures we have to follow and for their cooperation with new safety measures at our practice.
You can phone us if you have any dental concerns. We will triage you over the phone and take appropriate action.
What will dental appointments be like?
- If you call to make an appointment, you will be asked some screening questions. You will be asked those questions again at your appointment.
- You will be asked to use hand sanitiser or to wash your hands when you arrive (and again before you leave).
- You will also find that waiting rooms might look a little different.
- You will also notice that the dental team may be wearing different protective equipment to what you are used to seeing.
- Appointments will be managed to allow for social distancing between patients. That might mean that you’re offered fewer options for scheduling your appointment.
- The restroom facility will be out of use.
Before attending the practice
- We will ask you to attend the appointment on your own unless you need a carer or are under 16.
- We will ask screening questions.
- We will ask for payment over the phone. Alternatively, card payment or exact cash in a clear plastic bag will be accepted. We will not be accepting cheque at the moment.
- We will ask you to bring your own pen.
- We will check that you and anyone in your house have had no COVID-19 symptoms.
- We will risk asses you by asking about your medical history to see if you are a vulnerable patient. If you are in a higher risk group, the general advice for groups that are shielding is to remain at home and delay any non-essential dental treatment. We intend to set aside dedicated time to provide the first appointments for vulnerable groups, whereby we will shield those groups as much as we possibly can.
- We will ask you to leave all non-essential belongings at home or in your car when attending your appointment.
When you attend your appointment
Please do not attend the surgery if you, or anyone in your house, have developed COVID-19 symptoms.
We would like to eliminate waiting times in reception as much as possible.
- Please arrive 5 minutes earlier for your appointment.
- Please remain waiting outside, or in your car, until your appointment time.
- Please leave your belongings e.g. jacket, coat, sunglasses, mobile phone, bags, etc in your car. Otherwise, we will ask you to place your belongings in a bag and collect it on your way out. We don’t accept any liability for theft, loss or damage to your belongings while in the car park or in the premises.
- Please do not arrive late – normally we try to accommodate late arrivals but in these unprecedented times it is unlikely we will be able to see you.
- We will take you temperature.
- We will ask you to use the hand sanitiser and follow the picture instructions to use it correctly when you arrive and again before you leave.
- We will aim to have a treatment room ready for you on your arrival and minimize the number of patients in the waiting room.
- We will ask you to maintain social distance between the people that visit us.
- We will update your medical history and ask screening questions again.
- We will get you to sign any relevant paperwork required.
How you can help
- With the exception of children and persons in need, patients should come alone.
- A distance of at least two metres must be observed if another patient is present in
the dental practice.
- Staff will not shake your hand
- If you show symptoms following appointment booking, you should contact the practice by phone and cancel your appointment.
- Please wait outside or remain in your car before being called to enter the practice.
- Please do not arrive without an appointment.
Patients should attend wearing a mask if possible.
It will likely be some time before dental services return to what you previously experienced as normal.
All our processes will be constantly reviewed and updated as necessitated by circumstances over time.
We hope that you will understand the need for the new processes and hope to see a return to normal routine dental procedures as soon as safely possible. Please respect our members of staff as they are doing their best to help you.
If you have COVID 19 symptoms, which include: