The Coronavirus has meant changes for a lot of us, including here at Highgate Hill Dental Centre. The first half of 2020 has truly been a roller coaster, trying to find balance between looking after our patients while keeping ourselves safe. You may have noticed there have been some changes around the practice, so we thought we’d give you an update on where we’re at and how we are keeping you safe during your visit.
At the time of writing this, the number of active COVID-19 cases in Queensland is very low. In order for it to stay that way, it is important that we all band together and heed the advice of the health department – that includes dentists. Throughout the pandemic, the Australian Dental Association (ADA) has provided advice to the Australian Health Protection Principal Committee (AHPPC), who then in turn make recommendations to National Cabinet regarding safe dental practices. At the height of the pandemic we were placed under strict orders that meant we could only treat certain dental emergencies. We are happy to report that due to the great work of our fellow Queenslanders we are currently operating under the lowest level of ADA restrictions – level one.
In practical terms, level one restrictions simply mean that we screen everyone before they walk through the door to make sure they do not meet either the clinical or epidemiological criteria for COVID-19. Before your appointment we will be checking if you have recently travelled overseas or to any Australian hotspot areas, are displaying any symptoms of COVID-19, or have been in close contact of anyone with COVID-19.
Aside from the meticulous cleaning and infection control measures that have kept our dental centre safe over the years, there are a couple of extra procedures we have put in place to minimise the risk to our patients and staff:
- The use of hand sanitiser on arrival and a mouth rinse before treatment – this is a precaution recommended by the ADA to lower the amount of bacteria on your hands and in your mouth. In addition, taking temperatures on arrival also helps to keep our dentists, dental assistants, and everyone around you safe.
- Social distancing – if you’ve been in to see us lately you will have noticed that the reception area looks a little sparse at the moment. In order to comply with social distancing guidelines, we have spaced out our chairs to be 1.5 metres apart. We have also removed any “high touch” items from the waiting area such as magazines and toys.
- Regular team meetings – the ever-evolving health advice means we all need to stay informed. Since the pandemic began, we have been holding frequent online meetings to update each other on recommended practices and procedures and review their implantation. It has also been a great way to stay connected and grow as a team.
- Development of our own COVID-19 policy – rest-assured that we have plans in place for just about anything coronavirus related. Drawing upon both governmental health advice and guidelines produced by the ADA, we have put together our own COVID-19 policy that outlines every precaution we take and procedure put in place to make our clinic COVID-safe.
- Flexible cancellations – we understand that during this turbulent time things can happen at the last moment. If you’re feeling unwell or are unable to make it to your appointment for other reasons, just give us a call and we will do our best to reschedule your appointment for a time that works.
These are just a couple of adjustments we have made – there is plenty more going on behind the scenes. We hope that the changes we have made during the coronavirus pandemic help to put your mind at ease when you come to see us. If you have any specific concerns or requests please do not hesitate to let us know. If you are immunocompromised or have health risk factors that make you particularly susceptible to coronavirus, there are things we can do to make your dental visit as low-risk as possible such as scheduling you for the first appointment of the day. We hope you are staying as safe and as healthy as possible in this time and we are here for you should you have any concerns.