Re-opening Covid -19

Dear Patient:

We hope this letter finds you and your family in good health.

You may have heard that dental practices are going to reopen in near future. We are awaiting directives from relevant authorities in this regard.

In the meantime, we wanted to make you aware of some information about how we shall be operating when we open back up.  

The treatments you are going to be offered may be different to those you received before, depending on staff and equipment available. It will take some time before services return to what you previously experienced as normal. Please be patient.

Our community has been through a lot over the last few months, and all of us are looking forward to resuming our normal habits and routines. While many things have changed, one thing has remained the same: our commitment to your safety.

It is not known at this time whether these procedures are temporary or whether they will become a permanent feature of the way dental practices must be run to ensure patient and staff safety in the future.

The worldwide COVID-19 pandemic is still being evaluated and studied and policies and recommendations are likely to change in line with new scientific evidence over time.

We would like to thank all of our patients for their patience and forbearance during the period of temporary practice closure and for their understanding and cooperation whilst we implement new measures at the practice.

We will of course be providing dental care to all of our patients in the safest possible environment. We greatly appreciate your assistance with any new or modified procedures at the practice

Our team has been working hard behind the scenes to prepare the practice for reopening and have updated our policies and protocols to ensure your safety is paramount.

Initially we will be seeing patients requiring emergency treatments.

Patient communication before reopening

Our team will be contacting patients and confirm appointments ahead of their scheduled time.

We will request that all patients who are attending Avonsmiles  Dental update their standard medical history forms and a Covid -19 risk assessment form beforehand. These forms can be emailed to you. We would request you to fill up the form, sign it and e mail it back to us. Alternatively, we would ask you to bring your own pen to sign a form provided by us.

Covid-19 risk assessment form will allow us to assess your level of risk for coronavirus infection before you attend the surgery. This will be in paper form and will be double checked verbally at the time of your arrival. This will apply to anyone attending the practice along with the patient. We would actively encourage you to attend on your own whenever possible.

New Measures to reduce the risk of COVID-19 Transmission

Our normal cross-infection control protocols at Avonsmiles  Dental against all previously known pathogens are already woven into all clinical activity carried out at the practice.

It should be remembered that a dental practice is already a very clean environment compared to public areas and there is no evidence of COVID-19 transmission occurring in increased rates in dentists or their staff.

We have collectively evaluated all of the updated guidance and observed what measures have been put in place in other countries. We feel that the measures that are outlined in this policy will reduce risk to the minimum level at the practice.

Please be assured that all of our clinical staff will also be complying with our updated procedures to reduce the risk of cross infection in both directions.

Before Attending the Practice

We will carry out a pre-attendance assessment via your completed medical history and risk assessment relative to coronavirus infection risk. If you have any difficulties with completing the forms we can help and  our team are here to assist.

A dentist may also carry out a video consultation with you to assess your dental problem prior to your visit so that a provisional treatment plan can be proposed to minimise the number of visits you require. We may also request that you send photographs of your mouth to our practice via email to avonsmiles.strathaven@gmail.com.

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 or refer you to Urgent Dental Care centre (UDCC) in Coathil for treatment.

To find out whether you are in a high or very high-risk group please visit the following website https://www.nhsinform.scot/illnesses-and-conditions/infections-and-poisoning/coronavirus-covid-19/coronavirus-covid-19-general-advice or ask any member of our team for guidance.

When travelling to the practice, we would recommend that you limit close contact with other members of the public as far as possible.

Please endevour to arrive no more than five minutes before your scheduled appointment. If you are travelling by car we would be grateful if you could wait in your car and call the practice on 01357 520185  to confirm your arrival. We will meet all patients on arrival the building and bring them straight into the surgery.

One adult is able to 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.

Arriving at the Practice

When you attend the practice, we will welcome you, and escort you into surgery 1.  

Staff will not shake your hand to maintain social distancing.

We shall ask for you to put  your coat or jacket in a plastic container. The front door will remain locked,

We would sincerely request you to limit what you bring into the building.

We intend to eliminate 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.

We are discouraging our patients to use restrooms during their visit to the practice. When using the restrooms, please do your best to ensure that you leave the facilities, as you would expect to find them and wash your hand thoroughly. The restrooms will be regularly disinfected between patients. Please ask a member of staff for access to toilet  if you need.

If you are well, we will direct you straight to the surgery and request that you do all the following before or during your appointment.

– Use the hand sanitiser at the reception

– Thoroughly wash your hands for 30 seconds with the soap hand wash provided in the surgery.

– We may ask you to use a Hydrogen Peroxide mouthwash before some dental treatments are provided

Practice Procedures

The Avonsmiles  team 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 may 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 in addition to our normal surface cleaning protocols between patients.

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

All future appointments will be made and confirmed by email or telephone to limit your time spent at reception.

Avonsmiles  Dental will be operating contactless payment systems going forwards, and we will request that payment is made using a credit or debit card.

If you show symptoms following appointment booking, you should contact the practice by phone

Dental Procedures

All dental staff will be using personal protective equipment in line with current recommendations and evidence.

As per recent guidelines issued by Chief Dental Officer of Scotland, we shall be only be carrying out emergency procedures which do not generate any aerosol. In other words, we shall not be using drills. We shall be treating patients who do not have any covid-19 symptoms. Patients requiring aerosol generating procedures and patients with suspected covid-19 symptoms will be referred to UDCC.

We apologise for the limitation of service we can provide presently. However, we intend to increase the range of our service in near future and we shall keep you updated.

Summary

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

Our policies and procedures will be constantly reviewed and updated as necessitated by circumstances and the best available evidence over time.

If you have any questions regarding this policy or about your dental care at

Avonsmiles  Dental practice please do not hesitate to contact us on 01357 520185 or avonsmies.strathaven@gmail.com where a member of our team will be happy to assist.