One of the many ways that the COVID-19 pandemic has affected people is the impact that restrictions, closures and lockdowns have had on oral health and specifically access to check-ups and routine appointments at the dentist.
Just like the hospitality and retail sector, dental practices have had to enhance and adapt their normal way of working in order to be able to provide dental care in a way that is safe for both the staff and the patients.
At both our Sharrow and Advent practices, we didn’t close at any point and are proud to have been appointed as Urgent Dental Care Centres for Essex. Sharrow dentist in Essex were at the forefront for patients in need of emergency care and our Advent practice was and still is the Covid Positive site, which is available to see patients even if they are positive for Covid.
We have remained open during both lockdowns so far and we will not shut if there is another so rest assured that our team remain dedicated to providing much needed emergency dental care to our patients during these uncertain times.
What To Expect When You Visit The Dentist
At Sharrow dentist Chelmsford we have worked hard, putting in place additional, rigorous safety measures and operating new COVID-19 related patient safety protocols in addition to our already high levels of infection control.
When you visit the dentist, here are a couple of things that may have changed or that you can expect to see and adhere to.
Entry Into The Practice
Depending on available space and capacity, you may be asked to remain outside until you are called in for your appointment but where possible we will try to accommodate people in the waiting room with social distancing in place.
Masks are to be worn at all times unless you are in the chair and your dentist has instructed you to remove it. Staff will also be wearing full PPE at all times.
Hand sanitiser will be available for you to use as you enter and throughout the practice.
Where possible, particularly at the reception desk there will likely be clear protective screens.
The layout may have changed or there might me markings, arrows and tape on the floor to help instruct you where you need to stand and what way to walk if there is a one way or queue system in place.
Your appointment shouldn’t differ that much from usual except for maybe taking a little longer in order to safely carry out the check up or treatment whilst adhering to health and safety protocols.
If you are worried or nervous about your visit to the dentist then please rest assured that we have rigorous Standard Operating Procedures in place and are doing our utmost to put patient safety first at all times.
The Effects Of Covid On Periodontal Care
For patients who regularly receive or need periodontal treatment, the limitations on what have been deemed as ‘non-essential’ have seen them have to go without it. There are many advantages of maintaining regular visits for the examination and support of periodontal health including not just the benefit to the patient’s oral health but the discomfort and costs that can be avoided from resulting treatments.
Because the treatment for periodontal disease typically involves using aerosols it has not been possible to carry out safely as the particles can remain in the room and on surfaces for some time after, and it is not yet clear when this type of treatments will be able to resume. However, we are taking steps to ensuring that our patients do not suffer as a result of this and are working to educate them on the many ways that they can help themselves at home and take control of their oral health. This includes guidance and advice on prevention, tailored oral hygiene instructions, and explaining their periodontal condition so that they can take ownership and responsibility of managing their disease.
The Return Of Dental Hygiene Trainees
At Sharrow we are very happy to welcome the return of students from the University of Essex to our Chelmsford dentist practice. These hygiene trainees bring with them skills and professionalism as well as providing the opportunity for more patients to have access to a high standard of hygiene care.
Under the tutorage and guidance of some of the most experienced staff at our practice, we are working hard to train the next generation of dental hygienists, helping to ensure the high standards of care to patients remains a priority.
Supporting Patients Through The Pandemic and Beyond
At Sharrow Dental we have been and continue to do everything we can to support our patients in any way we can. For those that are vulnerable or shielding, we have virtual online consultations available for your convenience which can be a great way to talk through any issues you may be having and get advice on maintaining good oral health whilst at home.
Although we never closed and remained open for emergency and essential treatments, we are now able to resume routine appointments for examinations and dental hygiene. As you can imagine, there are many patients that need to be seen and we are currently working through our extensive list to book everyone in as soon as possible.
If you have any questions about visiting the practice, treatments or appointments then please do not hesitate to get in touch and one of our friendly team will be happy to help.