Reducing the risk of COVID-19 transmission

New safety measures from June 2020

Our robust cross-infection control protocols at Woodford House Dental Practice against all previously known pathogens are already woven into all our clinical activity. A dental practice is already a very clean environment compared to any public area, and there is no evidence of an increased rate of COVID-19 transmission in dentists or their teams.

We have carried out and evaluated extensive research based on scientific evidence and detailed global referencing to analyse what clinicians in the UK and other European and non-European countries are doing under international guidelines. We feel the measures which are outlined in our policy will reduce risk to the minimum level at the practice.

The Woodford House team have had extensive training and are ready to care for our patients who require essential and urgent dental treatment. This will be extended to other patient groups as soon as possible.

We are currently seeing only the following:

  • Patients with emergency problems or other dental problems requiring urgent assessment and treatment

When the lockdown restrictions are further lifted, we will be able to see:

  • Patients with treatment that was not completed prior to the lockdown
  • Patients who were due for routine examinations and hygienist visits during the closure period
  • Patients who are due orthodontic reviews

Patient communication before attending

We have been rescheduling all appointments that were cancelled during lockdown. If you are in pain or have a dental emergency, then please call the practice and we will be delighted to help you.

We ask all patients attending the practice update their medical/dental history form and complete a COVID-19 declaration beforehand. These forms will now be in electronic format as we will no longer be using paper forms, so we will email you a link.

If necessary, we will make a follow-up phone call to assess relative Coronavirus infection risk. If the forms are not completed before you arrive at the practice your appointment will need to be rebooked. If you have any difficulty completing the forms, please contact our team who will be happy to assist you.

For your safety, Woodford House Dental Practice will be operating a contactless payment system so far as is possible. If you do not have a means of making contactless payment for your appointment during your visit, we will request an online payment or over the phone before you come. Many patients have Apple Pay or Android Pay on their smart phones already. This will help to reduce the requirement for unnecessary contact or use of pin entries on card terminals at reception. If you have any questions, please call and speak to the reception team who will be happy to help.

When travelling to the practice, we would recommend that you limit close contact with other members of the public as far as possible. We request you arrive on time for your appointment.

A new way of visiting the dentist

Whilst we will go through a screening procedure for COVID-19 whenever we speak to you, it is possible for anyone to become infected with Coronavirus at any time prior to attending the practice after having completed their updated medical and dental history. To this end we will ask you to answer screening questions again when you arrive for your appointment.

The UK Government has a five-point system of ranking the threat level posed by the current rate of infection (the R number) and other scientific and medical data:

  • Level 5: Critical
  • Level 4: Severe
  • Level 3: Substantial
  • Level 2 Moderate
  • Level 1: Low

The UK is currently at Alert Level 4.

Assessment appointment

Each dentist is currently limited to the number of patients they can attend to in one day. Each appointment is approximately an hour and a half long – this includes the additional safety protocols we have introduced.

To reduce the risk of transmission of the COVID-19 virus during this period of Alert Level 4, the dentist or hygienist will contact you by telephone, WhatsApp video or a Zoom video call for an assessment appointment. During this consultation they will discuss your medical history, your dental concerns allowing them to assess your care needs and risk status. They will offer advice, possible treatment options and send you the appropriate consent forms for you to read before your visit to the practice. This assessment appointment will allow you to ask any questions you may have regarding your treatment and all options available to you including fees. All final treatment and fees will be subject to a clinical examination. The fee for this appointment is £40.00.

If we feel that you are at risk of having possibly been infected, even if you are asymptomatic, we will respectfully request for you to delay booking any appointments with us for at least one month. This assessment will avoid any unnecessary visits to the practice.

Vulnerable patients

We recommend that patients in the high-risk groups for developing complications from Coronavirus delay non-essential dental treatment for as long as possible until the trend of the pandemic becomes clear. If you are in a high-risk group and do require treatment, we will schedule your appointment at a specific time.

When you arrive at the practice

The front door will be closed as attendance is currently by appointment only. When you attend the practice please wear a face covering or mask. Please do not arrive too early or be late for your appointment. This will help us maintain social distancing by avoiding too many patients in the reception area at once. We aim to reduce waiting inside the practice and at reception. Accordingly, appointments will be staggered so that patients do not arrive or leave at the same time as other patients as far as we are able to manage.

One adult only can attend with a child; please do not bring additional family members with you unless they are happy to wait in the car or outside the building. We have lockers at reception for you to place your personal belongings into, as you will be unable to take them into the treatment rooms. This reduces the risk of contamination. Please avoid bringing unnecessary items into the practice. We request that you visit the toilet before you leave home, as we wish to minimise the use of our toilet at the practice. The toilet will be regularly disinfected between patients.

In the reception area we have placed safety screens at the reception desk. On arrival we will request you to do the following:

  • Use the hand sanitiser in the reception area
  • Place your personal belongings into the locker provided – please note that you may not take any of your personal belongings into the clinical area at this time so please do not bring large bags / shopping
  • You will be asked to confirm your Covid-19 status

Practice procedures

The team at Woodford House have spent time critically looking at every aspect of the practice with a view to removing all non-essential items that can potentially be the cause of infection. You will find that the practice may appear to be quite bare when you attend.

All clinical and common areas including door handles and surfaces will be regularly disinfected with our enhanced disinfection protocols between patients.

The practice will be providing a buffer period between patients to allow time for additional decontamination procedures, any treatment overruns and preparation time for the next patient so that they do not need to wait in the reception area.

We will ask you to sign any treatment / consent forms as usual and book appointments. It may be necessary to call you to book certain appointments.

Your safety

Looking after the health of our patients is our absolute priority.
To ensure the safety of everyone, we have introduced the Viruskiller TM technology air purification system, throughout the practice, which has the ability to neutralise airborne viruses and bacteria from the air, before they are inhaled. We have installed the VK401 Radic8 units, the company is a leading manufacturer of clean air technology.

As a dental practice, we work in an environment where the prevention of the spread of a whole range of infections is woven into everything we do.
An exceptionally high standard of clinical hygiene has always been maintained at Woodford House, but we have now upgraded our procedures to an even higher level following all government guidance and adopting all protocols as advised.

To reduce the exposure to any microbes we will provide you with an effective mouthwash before any dental treatments are provided.

All team members have been trained in using personal protective equipment in line with current recommendations and evidence. We apologise in advance for the necessary reduction in social interaction that this will necessitate.

In addition to our regular masks we will be wearing gowns, visors, hair covers, aprons and special high filtration masks. Whilst our masks may make us appear impersonal and distant, please be assured we are still the same friendly team underneath it all!

After extensive research, we have chosen a surface disinfectant that is proven to be effective against the Coronavirus and is environmentally safe.
Due to the financial impact of the Coronavirus, there will be a small increase in fees. The time taken to carry out treatments will also be extended which will be included into the fees for your procedure.

Summary

The vast majority of our patients are otherwise healthy without Coronavirus infection and we are confident that we are able to provide dental care for these patients in as normal an environment as possible whilst bearing in mind our responsibilities to mitigate risks of infection spread as far as is practically possible.

This policy will be constantly reviewed and updated as necessitated by circumstances over time.

If you have any questions regarding this policy or about your dental care at Woodford House Dental Practice, please do not hesitate to contact us on care@improveyoursmile.co.uk

We look forward to welcoming you at Woodford House – as always.

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