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 Jun 18, 2020

Hi again everyone on this grey day.  We are really missing the sun but I have to say the garden (especially the weeds!!!!) is loving the rain.

As you are no doubt aware just this morning the Covid 19 countrywide risk level has been reduced to Level 3.  Great news indeed and hopefully this downward trend will continue.

As the government keep pointing out, it is due to the fantastic response from all of us in adhering to the guidance about social distancing etc that is helping to achieve this and in looking at reopening we want to make sure we do everything in our power to ensure we contribute towards this downward trend. 

One of the factors to consider regarding safety in dentistry is the fact that the majority of our treatments generate an aerosol (AGP).  AGP is not a new thought process for us as this is something we have had to consider for years regarding HIV, Hepatitis B and C etc. Thus, why we have used PPE in the past.

The guidance we are following with the advent of Covid 19 states that we should not do any non-urgent AGP procedures until Level 3 has been declared and then only with the correct PPE.  So, with today’s news we can finally put the final steps in place to reopen.

We now have some FFP2 face masks in stock and our fit testing is happening next week, 23rd June.  This is however a bit of a ‘fingers crossed’ exercise.  We have sourced a small supply of masks but not every mask fits everyone so you have to try different ones- which we have to supply at the fit testing session.  Once we know which masks fits each person (and it may be a different brand for each of us) we then can order a proper supply so we can continuously operate when we do reopen.   Another ‘fingers crossed’ moment to hope they are in stock!

In the meantime, we are spending time on risk assessments and rewriting our Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) taking into account the ‘new normal’.   Staff training on all of this is starting next week.  Although we have worked on all of this throughout lockdown the guidance has altered so often that there is still a lot to do.  We want to make sure that when we do properly reopen our door to you that we are all completely trained on the ‘new normal’ so your interaction with us and your journey through the practice is smooth, trouble free and safe.

For the past few weeks, we (Rob and Niamh) have been running clinical/assessment days for any client who has a concern so that we can assess the situation and plan future treatment with them. (As I’m sure you can guess this is taking a lot of time so the weeds are most certainly winning!!  Gardening can be such a thankless task J).  We will continue to do this until we fully open so if you have any concern please feel free to contact us.

This is also giving us an opportunity to experiment and train ourselves on new technical systems as all follow up and discussion on treatment is happening via Zoom, Teams and other platforms for video calling.  Neither of us are well versed in these so at times it is the blind leading the blind trying to talk a client through how to get their video or mic to work.  And then we have to train the staff – or as they are more likely to be better at the tech side of things, perhaps they can train us when we can all be in the building at the same time.

We have worked out a timetable to prepare to open fully and July 6th was initially the date we were working towards. However, this is sadly looking a bit optimistic based on the mammoth job we have to do rebooking the hygienist diary and the number of new SOP we have to learn and rehearse.   In order to ensure everyone is fully trained and confident with the new systems, realistically we will fully reopen on July 15th.  For the sake of a week we do not want to rush and fall at the first hurdle.  Our priority is to get everything right first time and ensure the safety of all involved.   However, if everything is in place sooner, we will certainly reopen fully before the 15th.

Finally, can we offer a massive thank you for the cooperation from so many of you in allowing us to move your appointment a few months in order to see those who missed appointments during lockdown. We appreciate the kindness you have shown in helping us with this.

Please keep an eye on your emails for updates and we will be in touch by phone over the next few weeks for appointment rebooking. In the meantime, we will continue with training and preparing…… as well as waging war on weeds!

We are very much looking forward to seeing you all in the near future.

Rob, Niamh and the Gentle Dental Team.

Gentle Dental Blog