Cross infection control

Dentists! It Is Time to Raise Stakes with Coronavirus

person washing his hand
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I recently wrote about how dental professionals should protect themselves and the patients against the coronavirus at dental practice. Things have rapidly escalated since and the coronavirus is beyond stopping. It is now question of slowing the spread of the virus so that the health care wouldn’t become overwhelmed with patients needing an intensive care and that all the people needing intensive care will get it all throughout the pandemic.

Drastic and Immediate Measures

All the non-urgent treatments should be postponed until the coronavirus epidemic has settled. And I mean all! Only urgent treatments should be performed. Find out if your country has centralised place for people who need urgent dental treatment and has signs of influenza (cough, runny nose, sore throat). Some countries do. If your country does, accept only healthy patients to be given urgent dental care at your practice. Also patients that have returned from abroad in the past 14 days, patients that has had contact to a quarantined person or contact to a person with confirmed COVID-19 should not be allowed to have treatment in the surgery. 

This measure is necessary for many reasons. First, you will guarantee that you will not run out of the face masks. Second, you will slow down the spread of the virus. Third, you protect your own employees and patients and by doing that your practice might be able to stay open all throughout the pandemic. Fourth, you will guarantee that you will be able to provide urgent dental care in the next months to come when availability of face masks, disposable gloves and hand sanitiser is uncertain.

Limit the Contamination Area

If your surgery has many treatment rooms, use only one or two of them – the same ones every day. This is easy if you have followed my first advice as not as many patients are coming in as normally. Also choose the ones closest to the waiting room.

This measure is for the likely event of COVID-19 positive person visiting your practice. You would need to perform extensive cleaning and sanitising only to those rooms where you treat patients.

Minimalism at the Waiting Room

Remove newspapers and magazines from the waiting room. Also a remote control for TV if you have one. Remove some of the chairs and leave rest of them 2 meters (78 inches) apart. Also like I said on my previous post – provide hand sanitiser at the waiting room but do not trust the patients know how to use it (do you?). You can always ask patients to wash hands when they arrive at the treatment room. Most likely they don’t know how to do this properly either and you can be a role model (remember to follow the 20 second guideline plus correct way of closing the tap. If unsure, check this)

If you haven’t already read my previous post, now is the time as there is more information about face masks etc. All those advises are still applicable. 

What About Profit?

We all know that most of dental practices make huge profits. It is now time to forget the money and do the right thing for common good. Imagine how restaurants, shops, hotels, musicians (just to mention few of them) are doing now when everything is cancelled. We dental professionals need to do our part in slowing down the spread of the virus.

And surely, you wouldn’t want you surgery to be put on lockdown if a positive COVID-19 patient visits your practice. In the worst case scenario, you might not have a business to run after things have settled. 

Please help slowing down the virus and share this post to you friends and colleagues to raise awareness.


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