As a family dentist practising from home, the COVID-19 pandemic has been a life-changing experience.
During the first two weeks of lockdown, we had limited personal protective equipment (PPE) and very limited guidelines on infection control protocols under these threatening circumstances. Hence, I made the call to work alone, safeguarding both my patients and my staff.
Procedures were limited to emergencies only and telemedicine practices. When PPE became more available, my staff returned. A far more structured protocol according to the South African Dental Association (SADA) guidelines is now being followed.
At Dental Tranquility, we pledge to always put our patients’ safety first.
The following measures are now in place according to the SADA guidelines:
- Telephonic screening according to a COVID-19 questionnaire
- Patient flow limited to a single patient at a time directly from their car – no waiting room time
- All patients enter masked, hands sanitised and with shoe covers or barefoot
- Preliminary mouth rinses before all treatment
- All staff donned with appropriate PPEs
- Sanitising of work surfaces and autoclaving of instruments before and after every patient
Level 4 regulations allow us to include emergencies as well as treatments to stop disease processes (like extensive tooth decay) that may have a detrimental effect on the future of the patient’s teeth or general health.
This does not include any treatment that is deemed elective, such as cosmetic procedures or implant procedures that can be deferred to reduce cross-contamination of our clinicians and patients. Our practice is contracted in to all medical aids and we will maintain this for as long as possible.
I am happy and grateful to report that all our patients thus far have been very understanding of all our screening and infection control protocols and have been very compliant in terms of diagnosis and the limitations on treatment options.
For the future, we will keep abreast of all available precautionary measures and implement wherever possible. I am confident that as a nation, harmoniously united with a positive attitude, we will rise above this pandemic and emerge even stronger.