Your Dental Care In The Immediate Future
Some of the changes you might see when dentists open again
As many of you will have seen, this has now happened, with dentists able to open from last Monday. Unfortunately, as dentists were given very little notice of this, many will need to remain closed for a little time until new safety guidelines are put into place.
Re-opening a local dental practice whilst the virus is still circulating, is not simply a case of unlocking the front door and getting back into things the way that they were unfortunately. Patient and staff safety must be at the heart of what we do, especially at this moment in time. We are currently evaluating the guidance that we have received and today’s blog covers some of the main changes our Epsom patients are likely to see when they join us again for treatment.
The first thing to say is that we will only open our doors for face to face appointments again once we are sure that all possible measures are in place. Whilst we can deep clean and make sure that equipment is fully sterilised, one of the biggest challenges is sourcing the PPE equipment that you will see our team wearing. As you can probably imagine, demand for this is very high and sourcing sufficient to keep the practice running is not straightforward. Please rest assured that we are doing all that we can to purchase the necessary PPE so that we can open as soon as possible.
Because of the need for social distancing and thorough cleaning after seeing each patient, the number of patients that can be seen each day will be reduced. We will endeavour to see and treat the most urgent cases first, before moving on to more routine appointments.
Given the current restrictions, this may take some time so please bear with us whilst we do our best to help those most in need and do also please take good care at home to clean your teeth and gums well to help avoid any problems such as tooth decay.
Although we can now open again; even with PPE there are likely to be some restrictions on the type of procedures that we can carry out initially. This may mean that although you have a toothache, it still may not be possible to treat it. Some procedures, such as extractions, are likely to be deemed as safe, whilst others may have to wait a while longer.
We are currently looking into the procedures that we can, and can’t do and will advise as soon as possible.
PPE and dentist/patient relationship
One of the most obvious changes that our Epsom patients will notice when they come for an appointment, is that the dental team will be more heavily protected than before. Whilst disposable gloves and masks have been worn for some time, these were not restrictive in the way that PPE is. This may look a little ‘scary’ to some patients but it is important in order to protect dentists and patients alike.
The PPE is also likely to make it more difficult to have those friendly casual conversations that you are used to. If our dentists speak to you less, please be aware that this is not personal and is solely because of the difficulties associated with wearing restrictive protective clothing. We all hope that we will eventually be able to return to our friendly pre-treatment ‘chats’ as we know that this can really help patients to relax. Unfortunately, until such time that the viral threat recedes or vaccines are available, this may be the new reality for some time and we ask that our patients try to understand this and remember that we are still the same friendly faces beneath the masks!
Avoiding and managing problems
As we mentioned earlier, please take extra care to look after your teeth at home. A good brushing and flossing routine is essential at this time. This should help to prevent some problems such as tooth decay or gum disease.
Unexpected problems may occur that are not entirely within our control. If a tooth breaks or you lose a filling, we are available for telephone advice to help you manage any discomfort you experience. This may be in the form of advice such as avoiding foods that may ‘challenge’ your dental problem, or for some issues we may be able to provide antibiotics where appropriate.
Where a problem is urgent, we may refer you to an urgent dental centre to receive treatment. This will only apply to the most serious of cases though and a toothache, unless painful, is unlikely to qualify immediately and you may need to rely on painkillers until such time that you can be treated.
Although we are not yet able to offer full guidance on our range of treatments at re-opening, we hope that this blog helps to prepare you a little for what to expect when we open again. Please also keep in mind that many of the measures we are implementing are precautionary to minimises the risk to our team and to you, our patients. Dental practices have always been very clean environments and we are now implementing additional measures for even better protection.
If you have an urgent dental problem, please contact us by telephone on 01372 720136.