Per our last post here, we're resuming some previously limited treatments – this includes fillings and crown preparations. These types of treatments are Aerosol Generating Procedures (AGPs), as they generate a high volume of spray, or 'aerosol' during treatment.
Aerosol can carry viruses and bacteria from the mouth, such as COVID-19. The aerosol can hang in the air, before settling on surfaces. Read on for a rundown of what that means for you at your next visit.
What happens during an AGP appointment?
Your dental team will meet you in the treatment room wearing: disposable surgical gowns and masks, visors and disposable gloves.
They will have discussed with you the planned treatment at a previous review appointment – if you have a review scheduled, please take this opportunity to update your team on your medical history, any new dental symptoms and to ask any questions.
During your AGP appointment, the treatment room will be clear of any items not necessary for your treatment.
Your dental team will then put on enhanced, specially fit-tested masks to undertake your treatment. They will use high-volume suction, working closely to limit the amount of aerosol that rises and settles. Depending on the type of filling you need, your dental team may use other barrier techniques, such as a dental (rubber) dam, to isolate the area being treated and control the aerosol generated. All other techniques to treat you comfortably, such as local anaesthetics to numb the area being treatment and filling materials used continue as normal.
Once your treatment is complete, you'll receive any appropriate aftercare instructions and asked to report to reception.
The treatment room must then be left empty (also known as 'fallow') for 60 minutes. This allows any aerosol to settle fully. Once settling has taken place, all surfaces in the surgery are deep-cleaned – this usually takes 30 minutes. During fallow and cleaning time, no other patients can enter the surgery.
To ensure AGP appointments run safely and smoothly, we ask:
- Inform us ahead of your appointment if you develop any new problems. It is not possible to 'squeeze in' additional, unplanned work during an AGP appointment, but this information allows us to plan any further AGP appointments you might need.
- Let us know if you have communication difficulties we don't already know about: if you are hard of hearing, or need to lip-read, enhanced masks can make this more difficult than normal. We may need to find an alternative way to deliver important information about your treatment.
- If you or any member of your household has symptoms of COVID-19, or is self isolating, please let us know in advance of your appointment.
- Once again, please don't bring any belongings you don't need into the treatment room. We also ask that you don't bring any other people with you who don't need to attend. It also helps if you keep long hair tied back, make-up and jewellery minimal.
As always, we thank you for your patience during this time. We want to maintain your usual standard of care as much as possible.
Please bear in mind: the above procedure must be followed strictly and in full. To do this requires a greater number of staff per patient appointment. It also means that the number of appointments we can book into a day is greatly reduced. We may not be able to offer your preferred range of dates and times for appointments. Once again, we will give priority to those in pain, patients who were mid-treatment before lockdown, Plan members and the vulnerable.
For urgent assistance, please call (01228) 521701.