Over the last year and a half, our lives have turned upside-down. We are in an endless cycle of Coronavirus waves, lockdowns and mask breath. Safe to say it is not a fun vibe.
Every website says something different and everyone has varying opinions on Coronavirus safety. Your neighbour to the left, Julie, is running around everywhere without care and without a mask. Your neighbour to the right, Julio, hasn’t left the house in months and showers in hand sanitiser. Each offers you a different perspective, but who is right?
During the lockdowns, our clinics have implemented restrictions to ONLY EMERGENCY PATIENTS. This will be lifted once the lockdown ends (we hope!) on the 10th of July. So should you come in?
What Precautions has Smiles Unlimited Taken to be Covid-Safe?
Smiles Unlimited is a registered Covid-safe business. In order to minimise community transmission, and to protect our patients, we have implemented many changes to the way we operate. We have imposed an effective COVID-19 Safety Plan in both our clinics.
Prior to an appointment, we call patients to confirm that they have not:
- returned from overseas or interstate travel in the past 14 days
- felt unwell, including but not limited to symptoms of COVID-19 such as fever, cough, sore throat, or shortness of breath
- had any contact with a confirmed or suspected case of COVID-19 in the past 14 days
Our pre-appointment screening process serves as the first line of defense to ensure that we avoid any exposure in our clinic.
On arrival, markers on the floor will help patients keep a safe distance, and we ensure patients sanitise their hands, perform a temperature check, and re-check the pre-appointment questions. These measures ensure the safety of all patients and staff present. Moreover, during the lockdown, we enforce the government laws that everyone wears a mask. All of our clinicians and employees will be wearing masks as well. If you do not have a mask, we are happy to provide you with one.
Furthermore, outside of lockdown and mask laws, Smiles Unlimited still highly promotes the use of masks. Again, all of our employees will be wearing masks and are happy to provide patients with one too.
If you are feeling anxious to wear a mask because you suffer from bad mask breath, have a read of this article!
Hygiene and Training:
Here is a list of rules that Smiles Unlimited implements at all times to promote a safe clinic. This is not special to Pandemic times but to every day, all year, every year.
- Hand Hygiene: All dental professionals must maintain hand hygiene at all times, both before and after putting their gloves on. We wash hands before gloving. Contact is limited to just the patient and the sterilised equipment at this point.
- Personal Protective Equipment: PPEs are highly important here including gloves, masks, eye protection, face shields, protective clothing such as scrubs and disposable gowns, head covers, protective footwear, and shoe covers.
- Sterilisation of reusable tools: We use disposable tools and materials on our patients for the most part so we have fresh and sterile equipment for each patient. We thoroughly sterilise reusable tools. We use pressure and steam (autoclave) to do this, bag and track with a barcode system that integrates into each patient’s file.
- Cleaning and decontamination: Our surgery rooms are decontaminated before and after each patient. All surfaces are wiped down with anti-bacterial detergent or chlorine solution.
- Additional infection control precautions: This includes patient screening for COVID-19 risk, pre-procedural mouthwash, booking schedule management, waiting room management, use of hand sanitizers before and after each appointment, glass screen barrier on the reception counter, contactless payment processing, disposable pens, environmental cleaning of non-clinical areas and touchpoints after each patient. To avoid cross-contamination, magazines, books, and the coffee machine have been removed from the waiting area.
- Procedure Restrictions: Specific guidelines were released by the Australian Dental Association (ADA) to direct dentists with the types of procedures that may be performed under each level of restriction. The services we offer at this time and our practice protocols will strictly follow these guidelines.
So, should I go to the dentist during the pandemic?
As a COVID-safe dental clinic, we have taken the necessary precautions to ensure that our patients can go to the dentist without any fear of risk related to the ongoing pandemic. Right now, we are accepting emergency patients readily, with our clinics available every day of the week. After the 10th of July, you should feel welcomed and encouraged to visit us for any reason – emergency or otherwise.
It is immensely important to complete corrective procedures. E.g. cases of tooth decay, gingivitis and broken teeth can worsen over time. A root canal or filling left too late can develop if unattended can develop into bigger problems.
This is why we are doing all that we can to make our clinic a safe place for you to visit for your health needs. We look forward to seeing you!
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