Going to the Dentist in COVID-19

The Neem Tree | Dentist in COVID-19

Health tips | 12 Nov 2020

During the fluctuating amount of covid cases around the UK and the craziness of government tier rules and lockdowns, The Neem Tree will be keeping our clinics open and will continue to support all of our patients with their dental needs.

We know you are probably sick of hearing about the coronavirus but now we are here to talk about the reality of this virus and how it will impact your dental visits. We are here to help ease your mind about the real facts about the virus and how to stay safe. This article will inform you about the reality of the situation that we are all currently living with. 

We are here to assure you that booking a dentist appointment during these times does not have to be a stressful and fearful ordeal. We have always put the safety of our patients first and will continue to do so. 

The Neem Tree is doing everything in our power to keep our clinics open in the safest way and keep providing care to all of our patients. Our priority is the safety of all our patients, as well as our team.

Keeping you safe during COVID-19

The health and safety of our patients has always been our top priority. To continue to safeguard you and your family’s safety and security, we have implemented an additional range of precautionary measures to ensure a clean and healthy environment.

In addition to our own strict, high standards of cleanliness and cross infection control, we will continue to follow all recommendations made by the UK Government and Public Health England. 

On top of our already-existing health and safety procedures, we have introduced the following measures to ensure the safety of our patients and staff. 

  • We have installed several high-tech HEPA filter air purifiers throughout the practice. These air purification units clean the air throughout the practice within 30 minutes. 
  • We will be checking the temperature of each member of staff each day before work begins.
  • We have invested in stronger intraoral suction pumps for each surgery to minimise aerosol spread. 
  • For all treatments on individual teeth, a rubber dam will be used to protect the patient’s airways and minimise viral transmission.
  • Our clinical staff will be fully provided with personal protective equipment (PPE), including fit- tested respirator masks, face shields to prevent cross-contamination and fresh gowns for each patient.
  • We will be fully disinfecting the surgeries between each patient visit.  

What to expect at your next visit

As well as the new equipment and increased hygiene procedures, there will also be a few other changes to the appointment procedure. 

  • We will contact you before your appointment to ask you a few screening questions regarding your health. 
  • You may have your temperature taken when you enter the practice. 
  • Appointments will be scheduled so as to promote social distancing between our patients and limit the number of patients in the practice at once. 
  • We will be disinfecting each surgery in between each patient visit. 
  • We will be limiting the number of common ‘touch points’ between patients, such as sign-in sheets.
  • There is a perspex screen which protects our receptionist and allows suitable separation for any reception interactions .
  • Hand sanitiser will be available throughout the practice and you will be encouraged to use it. 
  • Magazines, children’s toys and other communal items have been removed from reception. 
  • Whenever possible, we ask that children are accompanied by only one parent or guardian per visit. 
  • Patients who are experiencing a cough, high temperature or any other COVID-19 symptoms will be asked not to attend the practice. 

What is COVID-19?

By now, you have been bombarded by the news and every social media outlet with that one word, CORONAVIRUS! But, by now it’s so hard to determine which headlines are the actual truth about the virus and what is over exaggerated. We are here to clear a few things up for you. Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) is an infectious disease that comes from a large family of viruses causing illnesses ranging from a simple cold developing to a more severe, life threatening disease. 

Most people who are infected with the COVID-19 virus will experience a mild to moderate respiratory illness and can recover without requiring special treatment. Older people and those with underlying medical problems such as cancers and cardiovascular diseases are those who are at a higher risk as they are more likely to develop a serious illness from the original coronavirus.

The best way to avoid getting the COVID-19 virus is to be well informed about it. Knowing how the disease is spread and how to avoid it is the best way to protect yourself. Although the constant increase and decrease of cases, deaths and government guidelines, it is important to still abide by social distancing rules. You should also be washing your hands or using an alcohol based gel frequently and not touching your face.

 

How does coronavirus spread?

The virus itself is spread primarily from person to person, mainly through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes. These droplets can land on people who are nearby, therefore infecting them too. It can also spread to those who are in direct contact with people who are already infected or by indirect contact with contaminated objects and surfaces in their immediate environment. Sharing objects used by an infected person is also how the disease can spread quickly from one person to another.

Can the Coronavirus be spread in a dentist room?

Our dentists are equipped with PPE (personal protective equipment) which is a great effective barrier for medical professionals. Although all of our staff will be tested and vaccinated, they will continue to wear gloves and a mask at all times. Other than your actual dentist, our staff will abide by the two metre social distancing rule. Luckily, our dental clinic has always thoroughly cleansed all of our equipment after each patient. And we will continue to do so, now even more thoroughly. 

We put all special protocols in place so that coming to the dentist does not have to be a risk for any of our patients or our staff.

We understand that being in the dentist chair means very close proximity with you and your dentist. This might be fearful for some of you even though we assure you that none of our staff have COVID-19. Ultimately, the truth of the matter is the chances of a patient being infected by his dentist is a lot lower than a patient themselves infecting their dentist. The biggest exposure to the virus is to go into someone’s mouth. The dentists themselves are at a bigger risk and this risk is diminished significantly though wearing the PPE.

The symptoms of COVID-19

Signs and symptoms of COVID-19 may appear after 2-14 days after exposure. Symptoms of COVID-19 are very similar to a common flu. The main early symptoms of coronavirus include a high temperature and a dry, continuous cough. Symptoms may also include fatigue and difficulty breathing. 

If you are worried about your symptoms call 111 and they will advise you on how to proceed with your current symptoms. 

Even mild symptoms can mean that you are contagious. To help stop the spread of the virus, while you are experiencing any symptoms be sure that you are self quarantining! If you are experiencing any symptoms you need to tell us and refrain from booking a dentist appointment until you are back in good health.

Preventing COVID-19

As there currently is no cure for COVID-19, and not everyone is yet vaccinated, prevention is key. This is why in dentistry we have specific protocols in place to adhere to, this is to ensure the safety of everyone in our practice. 

The most effective way of prevention is minimising risk that you could potentially be exposed to the virus. Controlling exposure to potential hazards is the fundamental method to protecting yourself. This is why social distancing is so important.

Although many of our staff members have been vaccinated, the virus is still out there. You need to continue to proceed with caution, as will we. We will do as much as we can to sanitise all of our clinics to the best of our ability and screen all of our staff for potential coronavirus symptoms. While we are securing your safety on our end, you need to be sure to do the same on yours. Even if you are not showing any symptoms, but have been in contact with someone who has the virus, you need to disclose that information with us.

We understand that oral health is very important however, if you are showing any symptoms of COVID-19 you should not come in. You will be endangering all those around you. 

If you are showing any early signs of COVID-19, stay at home. It may well be the case that you have a dry cough for a few days and it goes away after that. The vast majority of cases only show mild symptoms. We live in these times where a fever can potentially mean the worst, but don’t let it get to your head. A fever could just be a fever. But you need to do the right thing by protecting all those around you, to quarantine yourself if you are showing any symptoms at all. Once you have quarantined yourself for 2 weeks and are not showing any further symptoms, we will happily book you in for an appointment in one of our clinics.

How can you social distance when you are in a dentist’s chair? 

While you and your dentist will be in close proximity to one another, our dentists will be equipped with PPE (personal protective equipment). Wearing this will protect them from a patient potentially transmitting any bacteria or pathogens they may have to the dentist. Wearing this PPE will also be able to prevent the dentist from being able to spread any bacteria or pathogens they may have to the patient themselves.

While you are in the waiting room, keep two metres apart from anyone else in the clinic. We will space out chairs to ensure that patients are not too close next to each other. We will ensure that all surfaces and doorknobs are properly sanitised and there will be hand sanitizers available for you to use when you come in and while you wait for your appointment.

What are dental offices doing to protect patients and staff against COVID-19?

Even before the pandemic, dental offices have always been required to maintain strict hygiene practices. All of our dental practices already follow the BDA standards for cleaning and sanitizing everything in the patient room including the dentist chair and all equipment with EPA approved disinfectants. These are disinfectants that are specially designed for use in healthcare settings to kill all pathogens, bacteria and any viruses. 

In addition to all our cleaning protocols, our dentists as well as reception staff will continue to wear protective gear, including surgical masks, goggles for eye protection and gloves to minimise any risks of transmitting germs from one patient to another. These standards are currently in and will continue to be in high practice every single day (regardless of a global pandemic).

However, now that COVID-19 is around, we have put additional safety precautions in place. We have enforced social distancing rules between all individuals in the clinic when not wearing protective gear and routinely disinfect common surfaces in waiting rooms including door knobs, reception counter tops and even pens. 

We will stagger dental appointments to ensure that there will be more time allocated to each patient and to effectively reduce the amount of people in the clinic at any given time. Chairs in waiting rooms will be set at least two metres apart and usual magazines and toys in waiting rooms will be removed. In their place we will have hand sanitizer placed all around our clinics. 

All of our staff themselves will take extra precautions including being screened for any coronavirus symptoms daily. They will also be required to change from their normal clothes to scrubs before entering or exiting the practice. Dentists and hygienists and any assistants present in the patient room will also wear more robust equipment for higher risk procedures that may take place. 

At the Neem Tree we are taking COVID-19 very seriously. We can assure you that if you are coming in for a dental appointment, it will be carried out in the safest way.

Why we need special protocols in dentistry 

The role of dental professionals in preventing the transmission of COVID-19 is critically important. 

Dentistry in itself is very invasive which is why the spread of COVID-19 has posed significant challenges within the world of dentistry. Going into people’s mouths is a very dangerous thing to do in these times as that could primarily be a way to contract the virus. This is why we have put many safety and hygiene protocols in place in all of our clinics to ensure not only the safety of our patients but also the safety of all of our staff.

Is it safe to get treatment for a dental emergency during COVID 19?

If you need to be seen for a dental emergency or a regular check up, it is safe to be treated at our practices. Social distancing measures are being followed as well as robust PPE (personal protective equipment) being used. We would like all our patients to be assured that enhanced infection control measures are put in place in all our clinics.

Can I go back to my dentist now?

With the continuous fluctuating rise and decline of covid cases rapidly changing, new strains and different government rules, it is hard to decide whether going to your dentist is safe. As previously mentioned, we have taken all the necessary precautions to ensure the safety of all out practices. Additionally, most of our staff have had the first dose of the Covid vaccine to further guarantee the safety of all our patients.

Returning to your dentist is now purely a personal decision, one that we strongly advocate. We have put many hygiene protocols in place to ensure that all of our patients and staff feel safe when returning back to the clinic. With everything happening in the world we strongly advise all our patients to put their oral health first. 

We do not accept walk-ins. Call us to book an appointment and we will be happy to talk about all the safety precautions we have put in place and how they will affect you. This may help put your mind at ease before coming in for an appointment. If you are still unsure about coming into the clinic but need an appointment, we have virtual appointments available. 

We have done our best to make our clinics a safe place to treat all of our patients.

Thank you for your trust and patience

We would like to take this opportunity to thank you all for your continuous support, trust and patience during this difficult time. 

We look forward to safely welcoming you all back to our practices and we are doing everything in our power to ensure your safety, security and comfort at your next appointment. 

We are open for both regular appointments and emergency appointments. Please contact us if you would like any further information about the health and safety measures we have implemented, or to discuss your next appointment.

More on visiting the dentist in COVID-19

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