The health, safety, and well-being of our team, patients and the Canberra community is our top priority, and we are committed to doing all we can to limit the spread of COVID-19 within the community.
If you have
- been in contact with a confirmed or suspected COVID-19 case in the past 14 days
- returned from overseas travel in the past 14 days, or been in close contact with someone who has returned from overseas 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
then your dental appointment at Preventive Dentistry must be scheduled for 14 days after your return from overseas or last contact with a COVID-19 case, or when your symptoms have resolved and you are no longer considered a risk.
We also recommend that patients who are over 70 years old, or suffer from chronic disease (in particular, cardiovascular or respiratory disease and poorly controlled diabetes), or are immunocompromised, defer non-urgent appointments (dental or otherwise).
Preventive Dentistry has taken a no compromise approach to our additional protocols to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
We request that patients:
- use alcohol-based hand sanitiser to disinfect your hands upon arrival as well as on departure from the practice
- do not touch your eyes, nose, mouth or face
- do not shake hands
- attend appointments alone if possible, although we are mindful of consent requirements and family commitments.
- removed the reception area magazines so please bring a book or enjoy our slide show (we have added another 250 images)
- adjusted seating in reception area to facilitate social distancing
Our reception staff are regularly disinfecting
- surfaces and chairs in the reception area
- telephones, the EFTPOS machine and pens at the reception desk
- all door handles
- the buttons and railings of the lift to our practice
Patients may remain in their car rather than wait in our reception area, however we ask that you call us to let us know that you have parked and are waiting in your car. We will call you when the surgery is disinfected and prepared for you. Upon arrival at the practice you will be asked to use an alcohol-based hand sanitiser then be escorted directly into the surgery.
In line with Preventive Dentistry’s evidence based approach to dental practice we have conducted our own review of the literature to ensure our COVID-19 Precautions Protocol is in line with current theory. As dental professionals we and our clinical team are ourselves at the highest risk of exposure, however our protocol ensures protection of both our patients and our team.
Our strict infection control measures target the three routes of potential spread in the dental setting: aerosol, contact and contaminated surfaces.
Due to mandatory annual inspections by ACT Health’s Infection Control Unit, Canberra’s dental practices arguably uphold the highest infection control standards in the country. For decades, Preventive Dentistry has continually achieved exemplary inspection results.
We have always implemented strict infection control measures including:
- sterilising instruments for each and every patient
- using disposable suction tips and instrument covers
- disinfecting the dental chair, suction cords, instrument control panels, dental light unit and benchtops between every appointment
- placing protective barriers over surfaces such as headrest, instrument control panels and x-ray units which are changed between every appointment
- using transfer tweezers to take materials out of drawers during an appointment (to avoid contaminating the contents of the drawers)
- our clinical team wear Personal Protective Equipment (PPE): gloves, mask and protective eyewear
In addition to these measures we are now
- requesting patients to undertake a 30-second preoperational antimicrobial mouthrinse with a 0.1% hydrogen peroxide solution prior to commencing treatment
- using high speed suction whenever possible (reduces aerosol by 95%)
- using rubber dam for all restorative procedures (reduces aerosol by 70%)
Preventive Dentistry has installed air purifiers with HEPA filters throughout the entire practice to quickly and effectively remove any airborne contaminants.
Additional time has been added to the schedule to facilitate these measures.
With the COVID-19 Precautions Protocol we are implementing in addition to our routine strict infection control protocol, you can rest assured of a safe clean environment every time you visit us.
Please note that we will not be passing on any of the expenses associated with additional staff, additional cleaning times, air purifiers or masks to you.
Regarding the Treatment of Patients Who Are at Risk of COVID-19
Having taken into consideration the safety of the team and other patients, Preventive Dentistry will not treat patients who are at moderate to high risk of COVID-19 infection. There will be very few situations where a patient has a significant dental emergency such that the use of analgesics will not allow a delay until the patient has reached the end of any mandatory quarantine period, or is no longer at risk of being infectious.
Preventive Dentistry apologises most sincerely to any patient this may affect, however we will do all that we can without physical presence in the surgery. A dentist will conduct a telephone consultation and take measures that may assist with management including prescription of antibiotics or analgesics or referral to a hospital dental clinic providing all relevant information to facilitate treatment there.
You may also contact the Australian Government COVID-19 Health Information Line on 1800 020 080 or the Healthdirect Hotline on 1800 022 222 or find up to date information at Australian Government Department of Health: https://www.health.gov.au/news/health-alerts/novel-COVID-19-2019-ncov-health-alert