We take our patient’s health, well-being, and safety of utmost importance and have always had an exceedingly high standard of cleanliness and care at Quintidental. With the latest global pandemic, we have made a few changes that we feel will keep our patients and staff even safer. The team at Quintidental keeps abreast of the latest developments with regards to Coronavirus and dentistry. Dr. Naveed Sethu has taught dental students and given seminars on this topic at Kings College London and regularly attends webinars on the subject.
What changes have you made at Quintidental since the pandemic?
We have always had a robust cleaning protocol of all equipment and surroundings after very patient. We try to use disposable equipment where possible, but at the same time, we are conscious of plastic wastage and what is good for the environment. Our front door is locked now and only patients who have booked appointments can come in, any bookings need to be done via phone or email. One of our friendly staff members will either see you at the door (if you are a regular patient) and let you in or you will need to phone to say you have arrived. On entering the clinic your temperature will be taken without touching you. Although current research has shown this has limited benefit, it still provides some indication if someone has an active raised temperature which could be due to a virus (of course it could be due to other things as well, or someone might not be showing signs and still have the virus). We then ask patients to wash their hands with soap (we do offer alcohol hand gel as well but we are lucky to have washing facilities just by the entrance and find it gentler on the hands and better hygiene). Shoe covers are given to every patient to put on top of their shoes. A disinfected box is given to patients to put in their personal belongings (phone, keys, and coat, etc )to prevent any contaminants brought into the treatment room. At the end of treatment, either payment can be done remotely via direct transfer or can be paid at the reception desk, card machines are sanitized after each patient.
I have heard that dentists have to leave the surgery for a while after each patient, is this true?
Initially, as soon as the pandemic hit in England it was deemed necessary to have what is now known as a “fallow” time between patients. This meant that there is a gap in time between treating patients. The theory behind it was that when dental treatment is done it often produces an aerosol in the room, and if a patient has a virus the particles can linger around for some time in the air in the surgery. It was not quite evidence-based in so far as no one had shown what proportion of a virus would linger in the air and if this was infective or not and how long for. A number of one hour was initially advised by the chief dental officer in the UK and then this has been cut down more recently to up to 30 mins depending on the type of room and ventilation. At Quintidental we are lucky that the dentist has 2 rooms to work between so once a treatment has been done then that room can be left with the window open for natural ventilation to air and the next surgery used. This keeps the staff and patients safe.
Is it safe to have routine dental treatment during the Coronavirus pandemic at Quintidental?
We feel that having dental treatment at Quintidental is safe but ultimately in any pandemic stepping outside of your house always poses a risk to anyone. Coming into contact with virus particles can pose a risk of catching a virus. The main risks are catching airborne virus particles or touching a surface that has been contaminated. As far as instruments are concerned- at Quintidental all instruments are put through a rigorous cycle of sterilization so nothing will be living on them after they come out. With regards to surfaces and touching things- toilets are cleaned with disinfectant after each patient including taps and door handles, credit card machines, and even pens. As mentioned above, if in theory someone did come in and was undiagnosed with Coronavirus and had dental treatment done on them then there could be particles (theoretically in the surgery), however as we have a thorough disinfection protocol after every patient which involves throwing away most items and then wiping all surface thoroughly this mitigates the risk, that coupled with the dentist swopping between two surgeries, it makes dental treatment very safe. At the time of writing, there have not been any reported cases to our knowledge in England that have been as a result of dental treatment so we feel it is very safe and you probably have more risk of exposure in your local supermarket.
Do I have to wear a mask and if so how can I be treated if I wear one?
Indeed we do ask every patient to wear face-covering as they enter the clinic and as they go back to reception as they leave. They can carry on wearing the covering even in the treatment room while talking to the dentist and then remove it as the dentist is going to look in the mouth and put it in their pocket.
Can I use the toilet?
We try to advise patients to avoid using the toilet and use it before leaving home if possible except washing hands, but understand some patients will need to- therefore it is available to use.
Will there be many people at the practice when I come?
No, we try our best to avoid people waiting around. We have always tried to be a bespoke practice catering to the needs of the individual. Recently we have tried to space appointments out to try and have people coming straight into the treatment room without waiting too long or at all in the waiting room. If someone does come early and once we have done the preliminary checks we can escort you into a vacant room so you can wait safely on your own to try to minimize the risk of coming into contact with other patients. We ask that you turn up only at the time of your appointment, but if you do arrive early you can phone up while waiting and let us know so that if the dentist is ready you can come in.
Can I bring other people with me to my dental appointment?
At the present time, we aren’t allowing people to bring friends in to sit with them. We understand that dental visits can be daunting for some people and they do like to have some moral support, but at the present time, we are trying to maintain as much social distancing as possible and minimize risks to everyone. There are of course situations where someone needs to come in with the patient. Parents can of course come with their children if under 16. If you are bringing someone due to mobility/health issues then we ask that once you have kindly helped them in that you wait outside or pop out for the duration of the appt. The reception team can call you once we have finished treatment and the patient is ready to be picked up.
What PPE do you use?
If it just a check-up appointment then the dentist will be wearing surgical scrubs, a fluid-resistant mask, hair cover, visor, and gloves. When a procedure is done that involves a drill with water spray or water jet scaling (cleaning) of the teeth, they will use a different mask and also a gown in addition to what they already have on. Sometimes it can be quite hard to understand the dentist when they have some of these items on as it can muffle their voice slightly. The PPE used is in line with the current Faculty of General dental practitioners guidelines.