Reopening & COVID-19: Your Next Visit
We're delighted to announce we'll be seeing more of you in practice soon – following word from NHS England that practices around the country are at last allowed to re-open.
We all know COVID-19 hasn't gone away just yet: it's no surprise your next time here might look a little different.
We also know you'll have questions, or you might be a bit more apprehensive than usual about coming to see us.
To help, here's a guide to what we're doing to get you back to dental health and keep you safe.
Step 1: Pre-Appointment:
Before your planned visit to the practice, a member of our reception team will call you to ask some simple questions. This helps us plan your journey through the practice and prepare for any treatment you might need. We'll ask:
- Do you have any dental problems or concerns we don't already know about?
- Do you or anyone in your household have any symptoms of COVID-19?
- If you're vulnerable or shielding – if yes, we'll plan extra care to limit contact to what's strictly necessary.
- Medical conditions – even if we've seen you before, we'll review this again to make sure we've got it right.
- Are you: taking any medication, including those prescribed by your doctor, in hospital or over-the-counter.
- Are you allergic to anything?
- Might you be pregnant?
Once your pre-appointment screening is complete, we'll send a pre-appointment pack out to you. This will usually be via email or using the new, secure web-based Patient Portal linked to our practice systems. It's okay to have help accessing and completing this from someone else if you need it.
If using either isn't possible for you, we'll send a pack out to you by post. It's vital this is reviewed carefully and any forms returned to us before you attend the practice. You won't be able to continue to treatment without it.
Pre-AppointmentOnce your pre-appointment screening is complete, we'll send a pre-appointment pack to you. This will usually be via email or using the new Patient Portal. If using either isn't possible for you, we'll send a pack out by post. It's vital this is reviewed and returned before your next visit.
Step 2: Check-In:
When you arrive, please call us from outside the practice, or from your car/transport. The practice door will be closed: one of our nurses will come out to collect you. The nurse will ask if you once more if you, or any members of your household have symptoms of COVID-19. Please tell the nurse before you enter the building if you're feeling unwell.
Next, you'll place any coats or bags in a safe place. You won't be allowed to take these items with you into the treatment room, so make sure you keep any essential medicines, inhalers or aids with you. Secure storage is limited for your belongings, so please leave anything you don't need for your appointment at home.
The nurse will then dispense some hand sanitiser for you to use, then escort you straight to the treatment room. You won't stop at any waiting areas.
We ask: please don't bring anyone with you who does not need to attend. You can bring a carer, interpreter, chaperone or someone who usually helps you with getting around. If you're bringing your child for treatment, you can accompany them. Under no circumstances can we allow other relatives, siblings or friends in the building at this time.
We'll still need everyone to maintain social distancing when not being treated – please remain 2 metres apart from others where at all possible. New screens and floor markings have been installed to help you.
Carers, Interpreters and ParentsPlease don't bring anyone with you who does not need to attend. You can bring a carer, interpreter, chaperone or someone who usually helps you with getting around. If you're bringing your child for treatment, you can accompany them.
Step 3: Treatment:
The dentist on duty for that day and another nurse will meet you in the treatment room. We will have a very limited number of surgeries or treatment rooms running to maintain social distancing – you might not see your usual dentist.
Your dental team will meet you wearing personal protective equipment (PPE) appropriate to your planned treatment. We still can't undertake treatments which produce a fine water mist, (known as 'aerosol') at this time.
The treatment room will:
- Be clean and clear of anything not needed for your treatment;
- Be well ventilated;
- Have disposable covers on many items and surfaces to protect you and our staff.
The dentist will examine you to better plan your care: if you require an aerosol-generating treatment to effectively manage your dental problem, you might still be referred to a local Urgent Dental Centre. Your dentist will then explain the options open to you before proceeding with this, or any treatment. Our usual protocols for obtaining informed consent at every stage of your treatment remain in place.
Urgent CareYou might still be referred to a local Urgent Dental Centre. Your dentist will then explain the options open to you before proceeding with this, or any treatment.
Step 4: Aftercare & Check-Out:
Your dentist will explain any essential aftercare to you before you leave. Your nurse will escort you from the treatment room: you won't go to reception. Any further aftercare instructions will be sent to you electronically, where at all possible. If you need a prescription: if possible, your dentist will send this electronically to your local pharmacy. You can still call us after your treatment if you need further help and advice.
We may call you after your treatment if:
- You'll need another appointment on the advice of your dentist;
- If you need to make further payment;
- If further follow-up is needed.
It's important to follow any specific instructions given by your dentist to help avoid complications after treatment and limit the need for further appointments. It also helps to maintain good overall dental hygiene and avoid smoking for the first 12 hours after dental treatment.
Checking OutYour nurse will escort you from the treatment room: you won't go to reception.
We can't see as many patients as we'd like, just yet. The treatments we can offer remain limited – we need to prioritise those of you in pain or with more serious dental problems. To keep other patients and staff safe, please don't attend the practice unless you have an appointment.
When you're coming to the practice for your appointment:
- Please ensure long hair is tied back, nails short. Keep jewellery and makeup to a minimum. This limits the risk of carrying Coronavirus into the practice, into your home and to others;
- Please wash your hands and clean your teeth before setting off;
- Please wear a face covering to attend the practice. This might mean: a cloth mask, a scarf or bandanna tied around your nose and mouth. This should only be removed for examination and treatment;
- It helps if you're well hydrated and have used the toilet before your treatment, as patients and the dental team should not leave the treatment room until your care is complete.
- If you need emergency assistance: call the practice on 01228 521701.
Finally: thank you to all our staff, our dental colleagues and suppliers, to you, our patients, for all your support. We're still here if you need us and look forward to welcoming you back.