Reopening: Patient information

This policy has been created based on multiple updated sources from within the dental, medical professions and the government.

It outlines how we at Windmill Orthodontics will adjust the normal procedures that we intend to apply having been allowed to reopen as the pandemic peak has subsided.

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 in the future to ensure patient and staff safety.

Our policies and recommendations are likely to change in line with 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.

Please be reassured that dental practices are very safe environments, both before the pandemic and will continue to be in future. However, we will have to modify our procedures to comply with Government policies

We greatly appreciate your assistance with any new or modified procedures at the practice.

Provisional timetable

The practice will reopen for patients on Monday 8th June 2020.

We are starting to contact patients to rearrange appointments which have been missed due to COVID19.

  1. We will initially be prioritising patients who have had breakages, pain or problems during the closure;
  2. We will then prioritise our appointment schedule to see those patients who have been the longest without being seen;
  3. As we achieve this we will return towards normal practice and see those who are awaiting fitting of appliances and routine retainer reviews;
  4. When we have achieved a level of normal practice we will return to seeing new patients.

If you have any queries with the reappointment system please contact the Practice that you attend on their local number.

Patient communication before reopening

We will be contacting patients and confirming appointments ahead of their scheduled time. This will be to assess your level of risk for coronavirus before you attend the surgery.

We will be asking all patients who are attending the practice to please update their medical and dental history forms beforehand.

We will be unable to see patients who have COVID or are self-isolating due to being in contact with COVID. This to protect staff and fellow patients.

We will ask that children are NOT accompanied to the surgery by grandparents especially if they are over 60 and/or vulnerable.

Measures to reduce the risk of covid-19 transmission

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

It should be stressed that a dental practice is already a very clean environment compared to public areas and there is no evidence of COVID-19 transmission (or any other disease previously) occurring in increased rates in dental staff or dental patients.

We have evaluated all of the updated guidance and examined what measures have been put in place in other countries.

We feel that the measures outlined in this policy will reduce risk to the minimum level at the practice.

Please be assured that all of our clinical and non-clinical staff will also be complying with our procedures to reduce the risk of cross-infection.

Before attending the practice

We will contact you before your appointment to assess your coronavirus infection risk

If we feel that you are at risk of having possibly been infected, even if you are asymptomatic, we will respectfully request that you delay any appointments with us for at least one month.

If we are unable to contact you, we may need to cancel your appointment.

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 the beginning of the day.

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

We will ask all patients to wait outside before your appointment time and we will meet all patients outside the building and bring them into the clinic. We may check your temperature as part of checking your coronavirus risk

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. The front door will remain locked,

We will take your temperature with a no-touch thermometer. If your temperature is above 37.8°C, you will be unable to enter the practice and will be asked to return home and self-isolate in line with the government guidelines.

We want to eliminate waiting inside the practice and at reception. Hence, 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.

When using the toilets, please do your best to ensure that you leave the facilities as you would expect to find them and wash your hands thoroughly. The restrooms will be regularly disinfected.

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

  • Use the hand sanitiser in the reception area or wash your hands for 30 seconds with the antiseptic handwash provided in the surgery.
  • We may ask you to use a mouthwash before some dental treatments are undertaken.

Practice procedures

The Windmill team have spent time looking at every aspect of the practice in order to remove all non-essential items that could potentially be a 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 in addition to our normal surface cleaning protocols between patients.

The clinic will be providing a buffer period between patients to allow extra 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.

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

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

We apologise in advance for the reduction in social interaction that this will cause. Whilst our masks may make us appear impersonal and distant, please be reassured we are still the same friendly team underneath it all!

We are aware that some dental treatments are aerosol-generating procedures (AGP’s). Placing and removing brackets are the most common aerosol creating procedures in orthodontics.

It is difficult for us to carry these procedures without the generation of some level of aerosol. Aerosol suspended in the air is a theoretical source of infection which we obviously wish to keep to a minimum. Currently the dental literature recommends:

  • Our use of our normal high-volume suction reduces aerosol production by over 90%.
  • Our regular surgical facemasks filter approximately 60% of remaining airborne particles.
  • FFP2 and FFP3 masks filter 94% and 99% respectively of airborne particles in both directions (patient to clinician and clinician to patient).
  • High volume extraction of the surgery reduces any latent aerosols.

We feel that our normal dental procedures can be carried out with minimal risk by the use of high-volume suction, and appropriate surgical masks. We will be using single surgery with high volume ventilation/extraction.

The open clinic will only be used for non-aerosol procedures.

If you have a bracket off / broken brace you may need to have an appointment made specifically for its replacement.

Summary

Dental practices are very safe places with no known transmission of disease including COVID-19 occurring.

The vast majority of our patients are healthy without coronavirus and we are confident that we are able to provide 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.

This policy will be constantly reviewed and updated as required.

If you have any questions regarding this policy or about your care at Windmill Orthodontics please do not hesitate to contact us on [email protected]