Dental appointments during the Coronavirus outbreak
Reopening of the Dental Centre during the COVID-19 lockdown and what you need to do if you have an appointment.
We’re open again
To our wonderful patients, we've missed you.
We’re pleased to be able to say that we are open and seeing patients again.
However, we are not booking routine appointments at the moment. New guidelines set out by our governing body means we are working in a whole new way which has its limitations to the number of patients we can see per day. So for now, we are prioritising those patients that were mid-treatment whilst we were closed and any emergencies that contact us.
We’re aware check-ups are overdue for many people but we promise to get to everyone as soon as we can.
If you are overdue your check-up, please don’t be concerned about being “struck off”, this will not happen.
When we are offering routine appointments again, we will prioritise children and high-risk adults. I hope you can understand our frustrations and we are looking forward to seeing you all as soon as we can.
Thank you for being patient with us.
How we’re prioritising appointments
We are not booking routine appointments at the moment.
If you contacted us with an emergency during the time we were closed, we will see you as a priority.
We’ll then see people who were mid-treatment while we were closed. We’re aware check-ups are overdue for some people but promise to get to everyone as soon as we can.
Changes to the practice
There are a lot of changes and the practice will be a little different from what you last saw.
Before your appointment
The day before your appointment, a member of staff will contact you to take payment in advance and check you are in good health. This avoids the need for us to handle cash or take card payments and will reduce the time you are with us.
Coming to your appointment
There will be a locked door policy in place until further notice. This means that only those with an appointment will be able to enter the building by ringing our doorbell.
You must only attend at the time of your appointment. If you’re early, we may ask you to wait outside or in your car.
At the time of your appointment we will ask you to enter the surgery through the staff door. The waiting room will be closed for the time being.
Only one person will be allowed to enter the practice at a time. The only exceptions to this will be young children who need to attend with a parent or people who need a carer due to safeguarding needs. The person accompanying the patient will also need to answer a health questionnaire before the appointment.
The dental nurse will ask all those who enter the building to wash their hands as they enter. We’re also restricting the use of the toilet facilities so, where possible, please use your own facilities.
During your appointment
The staff in the surgery will be dressed in either PPE (personal protective equipment) – this is what you usually see them in – or RPE (respiratory protective equipment) – for any treatment that needs an aerosol.
Please be aware that the surgery staff may be a bit hot and uncomfortable and will want to keep you as safe as possible, so please only talk about your planned treatment while you’re in the surgery. We’re happy to talk by email or phone if you need further advice or guidance.
At the end of your appointment
Once your treatment is finished, the receptionist will guide you back outside.
If you need any other appointments, we’ll arrange these over the phone.
New dental emergencies
Please contact 111 if you’re not a member of the practice and require emergency dental care.
Due to the increasing costs of Royal Mail deliveries, we will no longer send reminders for check-ups by post.
We now send reminders for appointments by email. We can also remind you that you are due for a check-up by email.
SMS (text message) reminders are currently unavailable.
Please give us your feedback about this change to our service by emailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Cancellations and missed appointments
If you’re unable to keep your appointment, please let us know as soon as possible so that we can use the time for another patient on our waiting list.
If you miss more than two appointments and give less than two working days’ notice, we may not be able to complete your treatment or offer you NHS care in the future.
If you miss an appointment, you have to pay the cost of the treatment band again when the appointment is rebooked.
Reminders and recalls
At the end of your course of treatment, your dentist will discuss with you when you need to see a dentist again.
We’ll continue to offer to either book your next appointment in advance or send you a reminder nearer the time.
NHS dentists now follow guidelines issued by the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) on how often patients need to see their dentist according to their oral health needs.
It is no longer the norm for NHS patients to have two NHS check-ups each year if you do not need them. The Department of Health wishes NHS resources to be allocated to those who need them most.
You can, of course, visit your dentist privately if you prefer to talk to your them more regularly about your oral health needs, have a regular hygiene visit, or would like reassurance that all is well.
Courses of treatment
We will close all courses of treatment which have more than two months between them. If you’re unable to return to the Dental Centre for treatment, you’ll need to pay the whole band charge when you return.
The two-month rule is set by the NHS and our practice has no control over this. We have no idea when any routine NHS or private dental services will be running again.
Unfortunately this will affect a large number of patients at the Dental Centre who have had treatment appointments cancelled due to the current COVID- 19 restrictions.
If you have any questions regarding this while these restrictions are in place, please contact us by phone or email for advice.