As of today (Monday March 16th), we will be deferring / postponing all non-urgent dental procedures such as routine check-ups and cleans until further notice due to the Coronavirus disease (COVID-19).
This is not to say that we as a practice are alarmed about something that has affected less than 50 people in our state thus far – it’s just that it’s one of many small but advisable measures that we can take as part of the wider community to minimise a sudden spike in cases and help avoid potential overload of our healthcare system. The measures we undertake from today will also benefit the safety of our existing patients and our valuable staff members.
Practices in more adversely affected parts of the world are now being asked to implement these protocols. However, in light of our recent international travel restrictions (subsequent self-quarantine is required for those arriving back into Australia as of today) and our local community’s collective efforts in avoiding most unnecessary exposure, we thought it would be better to act sooner rather than later.
For those patients who need to be treated now, they will be screened over the phone for symptoms, history of recent travel, and/or close contact with someone who has symptoms or has recently travelled. This will occur prior to confirming the appointment, and then the patient will be reminded prior to entering the premises. We will also be screening our staff members with the same criteria.
All staff members and patients will have their temperature checked with an infra-red forehead thermometer as they enter the practice. From there, frequent hand washing and sanitisation, social distancing, and strict regular disinfection of surfaces such as door handles and bathrooms will all come into play for both our patients and our team.
Finally, for the clinical rooms, a 1.5% hydrogen peroxide mouthwash protocol will be enforced for all our patients. Rubber dam isolation will be used wherever possible along with normal personal protective equipment such as gloves and surgical masks, and all instruments will be autoclaved as per usual. Our disinfectant wipes, which are used routinely over every relevant surface in the clinical rooms, have been found to be extremely effective in destroying virus particles.
We want to assure our patients that all of us at Riseley Street Dental will continue to be here for them over the next few weeks and months, but that we are also going to do everything in our power to minimise or prevent disease transmission.
We are greatly appreciative of our patients being so understanding at this point as we all try to do our part in minimising the effects of what is now very much a global problem.
Author: Dr. Gregory Yap