Is it safe to go back to the dentist
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Is it safe to go back to the dentist

Is it safe to go back to the dentist
Harpenden Dentist - Wayside Dental Practice
15, Feb 2021

Some patients are asking if it is safe to go to the dentist and also if it is essential.

In this blog the team at Wayside Dental Practice would like to address a series of questions you might be thinking about when it comes to choosing a safe dentist and dental practice. We also want to answer your concerns on what damage to your long-term oral health the Covid pandemic is potentially causing and the risks involved of not going to the dentist, over the longer term.

Is Wayside Dental Practice still open and operating normal hours?

Yes, we’re working as usual, Monday-Thursday 9am –6pm, Friday 8am – 5pm. We’re also open on some Saturdays but it’s best to call first as opening times can vary.

Is your entire dental team back in the office now?

Yes, our team of dentists, nurses and support staff are all working as usual.

What would you say to a dental patient who’s worried about going back to the dentist?

Firstly, we’ve always maintained the very highest standards of hygiene and cross-infection control at Wayside Dental. We’ve now introduced new equipment and measures, so our staff and patients are as safe as possible when they’re either providing or receiving emergency, mandatory or routine dental care.

Is there a new dental protocol you followed when reopening Wayside Dental?

We have new staff protocols, patient protocols, and practice protocols and adhere to all the latest government guidelines on dental practices opening during the Covid pandemic. At Wayside Dental we always like to go the extra mile – we want to deliver the very highest quality of dentistry in the very safest and most comfortable dental environment. One new development we’re particularly proud of is the introduction of an advanced air purifying system. Click here for more information on our Radik8 Viruskiller Clean Air Filters.

In light of COVID-19, what are the things you consider absolutely essential to change or upgrade in your dental practice to make it safe?

A gold standard pre-screening system and adherence to rigorous infection control standards in a dental practice are a must. Enhanced PPE is essential and also air purification/ventilation.

What do I need to do before booking a dental appointment?

At Wayside Dental we are now asking all our patients to book in advance and complete a health screening and, if required, their medical questionnaire before their appointment. All patients should arrive at the practice on time so we can limit the number patients in the practice and wearing a mask in communal areas is required.

What have you done to make your dental team and patients comfortable with the level of workplace safety in your practice?

We’ve installed a new air-purification system, extraoral vacuums and, of course,all staff wear the appropriate PPE. We’ve also installed a screen on our reception desk and ask everyone to maintain the right amount of social distancing-luckily our waiting room is large enough to allow this. We also carry out weekly covidtesting on all our staff. Please review our pre-appointment covid-safety video to see what we’ve done.

This is my first visit to the dentist since the pandemic started, what can I expect to see and experience?

You will be met at the door by our concierge nurse who will ask you to sanitise your hands andalso ask you some questions to ensure nothing has changed since your health screening. The clinical staff will be wearing extra PPE and if any treatment is required, you will notice that an extra oral suction unit is used to prevent aerosols escaping into the surgery. You will also notice the illumination and gentle hum of the virus killer air purifier.

What extra hygiene protocols have you introduced into the dental practice since Covid?

Our surgerieswere always thoroughlycleaned between patients and now regular cleaning of communal areas also takes place.

What are the unseen dangers of Covid when it comes to dentistry and oral health?

It’s been estimated there have been over 14 million missed dental appointments in the UK alone since March 2020. The majority of these appointments will be for regular 6 monthly check-ups and dental hygienist appointments. These are important for maintaining healthy teeth and gums and also crucial in identifying the early signs of more serious dental problems. We already know of the links between periodontal disease and other systemic illnesses and there is now evidence of a link between advanced gum disease and severe covid. We highlighted some of these dental problems in an earlier blog on oral hygiene and dental health plans.

Why Covid shouldn’t stop you from visiting the dentist.

The lockdown in March when dentists were shut led to serious dental problems developing and also to patients taking matters into their own hands. So we are pleased that dental practices have been permitted to remain fully open for all treatments since June last year, and that the Government regards dental treatment as essential healthcare.

Regular visits to your dentist mean we can catch potential problems with your mouth, teeth and gums early. Regular hygiene appointments will help to keep your gums healthy, particularly if you are susceptible to gum disease, have dental restorations, implants or braces.

Maintaining regular dental check-ups will greatly increase the likelihood that any signs of oral cancer are spotted early, making the prognosis far more optimistic. Research has shown that for those who had oral cancer discovered early on, the survival rate beyond five years was 80%. When it was discovered later, the survival rate fell to between 30 and 50%.

To book your next dental appointment please call 01582 712 470 or email us at