Dentistry in the Age of Covid.

“Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose.”

(The more things change, the more they stay the same.)

-Jean-Baptiste Alphonse Karr, 1849.

We have been given the all-clear to start providing routine dental care again! And while things have indeed changed, and quite likely will change repeatedly as our knowledge, understanding and ability to combat Covid-19 improves, much remains the same. Providing good dental care safely has always needed two things above all else; the willingness to put the work in, and time. It’s no different now. So lets look at how we keep everyone safe.

1. What We Have Always Done:

We have always worked with infection control as our top priority. Our clinic has been set up from the start with this very much in mind, and gives us a good base to enhance safety even further.

a) Separate Surgeries
Our four treatment rooms are completely separate. Despite a trend for open plan clinics, allowing more chairs, we chose separate rooms as it virtually eliminates any risk of cross infection during treatment.

Dental Surgery

b) Dedicated Sterilization Room
It’s best practice to have a separate facility (Central Decontamination Unit/CDU) to carry out sterilization of dental instruments. We have had that facility in our clinic since the very start. It was completely refitted 5 years ago and has three vacuum autoclaves to ensure rapid and efficient sterilization of all instruments used.

c) A Properly Trained Team
A system only works if the people who have to implement it have the knowledge and skills to carry it out. All of our team are either qualified dental nurses or are on the official training pathway. (A little like an apprenticeship system.) Our team have always understood the importance of the proper cross-infection measures we need to keep everyone safe.

Shelbourne Dental Clinic Team

2. What We Will Do Next:

So, what will we do different now?

a) Personal Protection Equipment
Dentists have always worn surgical masks, eye protection and gloves, and for some things that’s still sufficient. Many procedures will require additional protective equipment. Our new guidelines require wearing plastic bib-type aprons and respirators (N95 type) for these. For some procedures we will be choosing to use a full coverage gown and face shield, to keep everyone safe.

b) Enhanced Cleaning Protocols
This isn’t really something we will be doing differently, but we will be doing more of it. Treatment areas have always had strict cleaning requirements, and we will be further enhancing these. We will also be cleaning down all “touch surfaces” throughout the clinic, including door handles, light switches, etc. much more frequently.

c) Ultraviolet Light Disinfection
We are trialing UVC light sterilization. This has been used in food industry and laboratory settings for years, and is something we are starting to see in healthcare settings. The UV light will disinfect all areas it shines on and works by breaking down the protein structure in viruses and bacteria. It’s not a substitute for proper cleaning, but rather adds another level of decontamination to our protocols.

d) De-Cluttering
No more magazines, iPad’s, water cooler or flowers in our waiting area. Sorry! Obviously we are removing anything that can be handled frequently or is hard to keep clean. We will be scheduling to minimize waiting times anyhow, so hopefully you won’t get too bored!

3. What We Need From You:

Finally, we look at what we are going to ask of you.

a) Come On Time, Come Alone
We will be scheduling your appointment to minimize your interactions with other patients. If you’re late or early, this won’t work. We need you to arrive at your appointment time. To facilitate social distancing we would also ask you to come alone or with just one parent/guardian if needed. We would also ask you to bring a minimum of personal belongings and in particular to avoid bringing food or drink to the clinic.

b) Arrival: Hands, History, Temperature
When you arrive we would ask you to disinfect your hands with the provided gel at the entrance, and wait until your temperature is taken by infra-red thermometer. We will also be re-taking your Covid-19 symptom history at that point. Please avoid using mobile phones in particular after you have sanitized your hands.

c) Be Patient With Us
It’s going to take us a little time to figure this new work pattern out, plus we have a backlog of (non-acute) emergency and urgent cases to work through. We may need to ask you to be a little flexible with us in terms of the times and days we can see you. But we will get there (safely), we promise!

Karl Cassidy - Dublin DentistWritten by .
Back seeing patients after Covid-19 lock-down at last! You can book an appointment online or call our reception team at 01-6655900. And as always, you can email us at info@shelbourneclinic.ie – during office hours we always aim to respond to queries within 30 minutes.

Opening Hours

Monday 07.30am - 5:00pm
Tuesday 07.30am - 5:00pm
Wednesday 08.00am - 7:00pm
Thursday 07.30am - 5.00pm
Friday 07.30am - 5:00pm
Saturday Closed
Sunday Closed

Contact Us

7 Grand Canal Wharf, South Dock Rd, Dublin 4
Eircode: D04 R860
Phone: 01 6655900
Fax: 01 6655901
Website: http://shelbourneclinic.ie
Email: info@shelbourneclinic.ie

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