Dentist is pleased to be able to reopen practice to patients
A PHASED reopening of the islands’ dentists has begun as check-ups, orthodontic reviews and simple treatments are allowed at practices.
Used to using PPE [personal protection equipment] on any normal day, Public Health has given the go-ahead for dentists to reopen this week and be in close contact with patients, provided patients follow social distancing guidance when coming into contact with others in the reception areas and waiting rooms.
Chertsey House Dental Group was one of the first to welcome its patients back on Tuesday and dentist Dr Paul Frank from the practice said they were pleased to be able to reopen.
‘We were given the go-ahead by Public Health director Nicola Brink on Sunday afternoon to begin phase one of dentistry and after figuring out logistics on Monday in relation to how we could do it, we then reopened the following day,’ he said.
‘So phase one is check-ups, as well as simple procedures, and orthodontic review appointments, basically things that don’t generate a spray. For instance, doing a filling using a drill creates an aerosol spray, so it’s avoiding anything that creates that.’
It also includes emergency treatments that they were able to do during lockdown.
It was agreed that a practice could run one room at a time unless it had separate entrances to the building, with Chertsey House Dental Group able to run two because it has a front and a back door, enabling it to divide the building, so those entering either entrance do not come into contact with one another.
This means that people either wait in their car and they are asked to come in or they can come into the waiting room, which has been divided.
Dentists who come into close contact with each patient also already wear the PPE required, a mask, visor, gloves and apron, and continue to do so to perform dental procedures.
‘I’m so used to wearing it and it’s that protection that is exactly the same as you see in the pictures in the press of the people who are taking test swabs for the coronavirus,’ he said.
‘They’re the same distance away and we are wearing exactly that same kit, so we’re pretty well protected and the patient is protected.’
Mr Frank added it was important to open the practice again to see patients and said they were more or less seeing the same number of people as before lockdown measures.
‘I’d say we’re back up to around 80-90% already just in three days, so it’s nearly normal levels for us,’ he said.
‘We really needed to get back to be able to see people, do their check-up, talk to them and give advice. We do a lot of other things during a check-up than just teeth, so it’s screening for oral cancer, checking the gums and the gum health as well.
‘There’s a need for these to be done and also with the orthodontics, my partner here, he’s one of the orthodontists on the island plus there’s the Children’s Dental Service. We were getting a backlog of orthodontic brace review appointments, so that really needed to be dealt with to get those children and adults who are wearing braces sorted.’
Phase two, which Dr Frank said would potentially begin at the end of May, would enable them to conduct complete treatments.