Today we have Veena my practice manager joining us in the discussion of corona virus updates and how it affects us and our patients in the dental environment setting.
Hope everyone is doing well and staying corona free. Today we have Veena my practice manager joining us in the discussion of corona virus updates and how it affects us and our patients in the dental environment setting.
How are you Veena?
Good as good can be in our current circumstances, I guess. What about you Dr Shilpa?
I’m doing very well thank you. It is an unpredictable time with stringent protocols being implemented and the government passing legislation about social distancing. I am sure you have had many questions from our loyal patient base about the current situation.
Our phones have been ringing off the hook, I have to say. The flood of questions has led us to doing this podcast to shed some light into the frequently asked questions.
It has most certainly been an impactful few months with the corona virus making an appearance early in 2020. I’m sure we have all have been listening to the news. It started off in mainland China and then spread all around the world with numbers dramatically increasing with each day. So what are we doing in our practice to prevent the spread of the corona virus?
We have always followed very strict infection control protocols to reduce risk and prevent infection due to the nature of the profession. But what we have been doing in the recent times over the last month is doing extensive screening over the phone by our trained receptionists.
Great. Can you please elaborate on the screening questions our receptionists have been asking while booking appointments?
Questions include asking if they have symptoms of fever, shortness of breath, cough, sore throat and even mild diarrhea as this virus not only affects the respiratory system but also the Gut. Some others are If they have been overseas and if so to stay in isolation for 2 weeks before coming to us. If patients are unwell they are to consult a GP immediately as per their protocol. This eliminates any possible risk of a sick person passing it on to others.
Wow. That’s very thorough. Most people are anxious to see the Dentist at the best of times. What are we doing to reassure our patients in our current situation?
We have implemented thorough environmental cleans every 1 hour and after each patient and wiping down high contact areas with alcohol wipes between each patient. This is where patient is likely to touch such as door handles, walls, reception counter, hicaps machine for payments and waiting area.
Before patients walk in, there is a hand sanitising station just outside our door which they are encouraged to use, they will be given gloves to use once they walk in, we go through changes and restrictions in our treatment protocol and will be asked to maintain social distancing so there is only 1 patient at a time at our reception while others are asked to wait in their cars.
In treatment rooms, we have also been wiping down areas where aerosols are likely to reach up to about 2m in all direction. We use high speed evacuation suction to pick up the aerosols. As for Sterilization we use very stringent protocols with all critical instruments being bagged and opened just before use. This way we can maintain high standards of infection control.
Hmm. That’s very reassuring and its clear that risk is not so much inside the dental practices but more so outside in the streets where social distancing of 1.5m is not maintained. Its so very important that basic hand hygiene is followed and avoid touching the face to reduce the spread of Corona virus.
Now, we have been asked if patients should be cancelling or delaying their regular check and maintenance visits due to the pandemic. What do you think, Dr Shilpa?
As mentioned earlier, we are following very strict guidelines. Currently we are postponing all appointments like cleans that generate aerosols unless its an emergency. It’s a good idea to get right down to basics. Get your flu shot, boost your immunity with Vitamin C and good diet so you are less likely to be susceptible to infections, in a meanwhile.
Ok. Now this is a tricky one. What if a patient has a really bad tooth ache but also has flu like symptoms?? Should we be booking a dental appointment for them?
We are now doing video consults for those patients who are unable to attend appointments. Our priority is always to take steps towards getting patients out of pain while prioritising the health and safety of all our patients and staff.
Final question. Will your practice be shutting down to prevent spread of corona virus?
Not at this stage but we are going to take it day by day. Our patients will be the first to be notified. We are still open for anyone that needs to see us and we look forward to continuing to care for our patients.
Thank you so much Dr Shilpa for your time today & for sharing all those insights.
It is my pleasure.
I hope everyone feels more at ease knowing what to do and if anyone has any further questions, please just pick up your phone and we are more than happy to chat. No question is a stupid question.
Thank you everyone for listening.
Bye for now.