Coronavirus and your dental appointment: Level 3 restriction
Our regulatory body, the Australian Health Protection Principal Committee (AHPPC), has now moved all Australian dentists to Level 3 restrictions on dental treatment. Despite infection risk to dentists and their staff, they have chosen to keep us open to help the hospitals. They have done this because Tamworth Base hospital is not equipped to treat dental emergencies, they cannot help in these situations! PLEASE DONT GO TO THE EMERGENCY DEPARTMENT FOR A TOOTHACHE. Call them, all Tamworth dental practices take turns being on call on weekends, they will direct you to who is on call.
What does Level 3 restriction mean?
- Cease all care of anyone who should be self-isolating (whether or not they are symptomatic)
- Cease non-urgent care for patients who are 70 or older, pregnant, medically or immunocompromised
- Cease all aerosol generating procedures for all patients receiving non-urgent care
- Urgent and Emergency procedures only! See below.
- Holes in teeth (decay/cavitated lesions) causing symptoms
- Tooth fracture causing symptoms
- Localised infection
- Dental pain or toothache
- Uncontrolled bleeding
- Facial swelling
- Facial trauma
Note: this means we are still allowed to provide dental care that does not produce aerosols, that we deem as necessary. For example, adjustment of dentures, orthodontic patients with a broken wire/bracket.
What are we doing differently?
As a practice we have also reduced amount of surface spread by
- removing magazines and toys
- having staff disinfect all surfaces (doorknobs, benches, bathrooms etc) every hour at a minimum
- spaced seating 1.5 metres apart
- our dental team will be broken into 2 teams. One team will be there to see patients who require urgent treatment, the other will be in voluntary isolation for 2 weeks.
- All clinical team has increased personal protection wear and will be wearing disposable gowns and hair nets that are left in the clinical room, as well as our glasses, masks and gloves.
- As we are operating on reduced clinicians, we will change rooms for every second patient so that aerosols can settle and the room completely wiped down.
- Require every patient to comply with the following:
What we require you to do differently
- Screen yourself! If you're not feeling well, dont come in! Doesn't matter if its a cold, flu or covid-19, the community needs to work together to keep our healthcare professionals healthy.
- Have your temperature taken as a screening. People with temperature over 37.4 will be sent home
- Every person to alcohol rub your hands on entry
- Every person to fill out a declaration form that they are asymptomatic and feel well, that you haven't been overseas or in contact with someone who has high risk factors. Also, that any patient who develops symptoms within 3 days after their appointment will contact us.
- A 1-1.5% hydrogen peroxide mouthrinse pre-treatment (sorry if it tastes bad but its really good for your mouth as it produces a lot of oxygen!)
- Triage of treatment - treatment and prevention of dental pain (anything we think could cause issues in the next 3 months) recommended to be done urgently and non-urgent treatment to be delayed. See ways we have to achieve some stability to buy time: https://www.mariusstfamilydental.com.au/stabilising-potential-toothache/
What happens if we have a full shutdown? (not allowed to provide any dental care)
As our patients would know, we always try to go the extra mile to keep people out of pain. In these times, our priority is not only to help our patients control infection and pain, but also do our bit to help the hospital staff.
If you call 02 6766 1766 (our number) or 0415152372, the phones will be redirected to a mobile number and a receptionist will be able to direct you.
If necessary, you will be put in touch with a dentist who can assess and triage over the phone/video call and assess. We have set up tele-dentistry services and are ready to go with this. We have ordered in some stock to help patients help themselves! We are as prepared as we ever will be!
Note: Please try and keep calls to business hours, we still need to sleep and spend time with our families too. If you require assistance outside of office hours, please send us a text.
What can I do to help?
1. Show your support to local businesses that are suffering by liking them on facebook and leaving a nice google review.
One of the big things that google looks at when putting up a businesses website is how many google reviews they have. In these times of stress and doubts as to the future viability of small business, a few kind words go a long way. You'd probably make their day, and remind them why they put themselves through all of this. Small business is hard on a good day, this environment is just something else entirely.
2. Show appreciation to staff members that are still working, not only in our business but elsewhere. Take an extra few seconds to smile and wish them well. Especially supermarket and centrelink staff.
3. If you buy online, try and buy from local shops and keep money circulating within our economy.
4. Reach out to those in need, friends have done mail drops to neighbors - offer to get groceries for the elderly that live on your street, or do online ordering for them if they aren't tech savvy
5. Keep the Australian sense of humour, if we cant laugh then all hope is lost.