(updated 1 August 2020)
Open but not quite ‘Business as Usual’.
The Government’s advice to dentistry has been for a ‘phased return’ and the interpretation of this has been varied. We’ve possibly taken a more cautious and measured approach than some, and we remain committed to following the ever-changing advice from our professional bodies, and the advice of the Chief Dental Officer of England. However, we’re extremely pleased to announce that ODental is now open again, although things are somewhat different to the beginning of the year. We’ve had to make some alterations to what we do but are offering as close to the comprehensive service you’ve been used to, as is possible while making things as safe as we can for us all.
Our decisions regarding reopening are driven by our overarching priority that we all remain safe. At the time of writing, the UK Government has declared a COVID-19 ‘alert level 3’ indicating that the risk of infectivity is ‘substantial’ and that the virus is in general circulation. (Level 1 is ‘safe’ and Level 5 is ‘critical’). Leicester is just emerging from its extended period of lock-down having seen the highest rate of infections in the country. While there may be a general plateauing of cases in the UK, elsewhere second spikes are being seen and the effects of the recent relaxations are possibly still to be seen. We consider the virus to still be very much ‘out there’. We are considering our own particular circumstances and risks of infection to our staff and our patients, some of whom are vulnerable or extremely vulnerable. We are considering the necessary prioritisation of patients who have suffered dental problems and those with incomplete treatment while we have been closed. Following the current guidelines, we are having to exercise a particularly cautious approach to some procedures. As always, we’re offering individual advice to everyone.
We know that the virus is transmitted through contact, droplets and aerosols. In dentistry, we routinely use ultrasonic instruments and drills that generate aerosols and it is clear that dentists should take particular account of this in addition to all the other measures that are already in place. Therefore, in order to operate a safe environment, the practice has made some alterations to the way we work. We have air purification units in the surgeries and are kitted out with a much higher level of PPE than we needed before. Some of the changes are almost imperceptible; some are obvious!
As a practice, we are committed to doing our absolute best for our patients and really appreciate the support our patients have shown us to date. Our opening hours are longer than before we closed and we’re offering more evening and Saturday appointments.
Thank you for following the Government’s advice and we look forward to welcoming you back into the practice soon.
Chris and the ODental team.