08 Jan We Need to Talk About COVID…
COVID has clearly affected everyone and every business in ways that I simply could not have imagined a year ago. Given that we work in the mouth (a COVID hotspot) we too have altered so much of what we do that I felt a little forewarning was in order to our current and prospective patients.
So here it is…. Spires Dental in the COVID-19 world.
Before you set foot outside your door to come and see us….
Gaining as much information from you before you walk through our front door is essential to try and ensure that your visit goes as smoothly as possible, keeping everyone involved safe and reducing the risk of transmission between us all. To this end we are asking you to:
• Answer various questions about COVID symptoms and any risk factors you may have, to see if it would be better to delay your visit.
• Send us photos of any problematic teeth so we can get an idea of what you will require from us. In a lot of cases we are able to book you straight in for treatment, avoiding that extra visit (and cost) where we inspect your mouth to let you know what your options are and what they will cost you. (I think we are keeping this one….it works well, and people are quite adept at getting their phone in their mouth 😊).
• Fill out your medical forms using our rather clever patient portal. It’s a little laborious when you first do it but after that it’s a quick check and away you go. You can also check in online!!!….at a dental practice. WOW.
• Pay before you come. If your visit is routine, we will ask you to pay over the phone to minimise the time you need to spend in reception (the bottle neck in our practice).
When you finally come to see us…
Given we are all living in this mad world we would kindly ask you to:
• Arrive no more than 5minutes before your appointment. Because we are trying to minimise any contact between our patients within the practice, we can no longer use the lounge as freely as we once did. We love the patients that arrive 20 minutes early, we would normally offer you a drink, but sadly those days are behind us now and we simply cannot accommodate too many people within the practice ☹
• Use our patient portal to log in online you will magically appear in our diary notifying us that you are ready to come in. If you cannot use the portal you can send us a WhatsApp message or give us a quick call. To be honest, Alana will happily respond to a tap on the window or a big thumbs up 😊
• Do the normal stuff of:
o Wearing a mask when you are in the practice, but not when you are in the dental chair….for obvious reasons.
o Disinfect your hands on entry
o Leave any bags and coats in reception
Even your appointment will be different…..
Yep… I wish that was everything, but we’ve had to revamp a number of things about your appointment such as:
• You’ll head straight to your designated surgery where a nurse will be waiting for you to check your details, take any x-rays you require and (possibly) introduce you to the brave new world of digital dentistry 😊. Don’t worry I still run late but that surgery is yours until we have completed your appointment.
• We will wear a bit more PPE gear than you are used to…..if you are really lucky you may see us wearing all this garb. Please don’t take it personally…..COVID is a bit of a tricky little so and so (even more so with the new variant).
• We’ll carry out your treatment in the normal fashion. From our point of view the way we work has not changed too much- we still endeavour to do the best work we possibly can.
• Once we have finished, we will make your next appointment for you in the surgery and then escort you out of the building.
• If we have done anything that could have created an aerosol of virus (and AGP- aerosol generating procedure) the room will be left for 60 minutes before we see another patient. This allows the aerosol to settle and for deep cleaning of the surgery to take place.
• If you are seeing the hygienists, it is highly likely that we will be using hand instruments only.
Thank you so much for bearing with me, reading through this document but I do want our patients to understand what we are doing to keep you and the team safe, but also to appreciate why we cannot just smooth that sharp filling, or rough bit of tooth, like we used to do.
Thank you for your support in this time and thankfully lockdown 2.0 will not affect us as much as the first version did.