That’s right! After experiencing excruciating toothache since the start of lock down, I’m pleased to say a dentist has been able to see me, and this nightmare may be over…
What can you expect from your dentist since restrictions have been eased here in the UK?
It’s certainly not the same pre-Covid 19, I’d been calling the practice weekly since the start of lockdown to try and get a dental appointment, during this period, all they were allowed to offer was a telephone appointment if there were signs of infection. I finally managed to receive an emergency appointment last week to investigate the issues, and two teeth, top left and top right needed fillings.
My dentist explained that they wouldn’t be able to undertake the work same day due to the restrictions on extensive cleaning and time for the next patient.
Pre-COVID, he might see up-to 40 patients (now reduced to 5-6 where drilling is required) a day. Naturally this has a big impact on the practice, for patients in similar situations, practice income declined since private work was halted, NHS work reduced, staff furlough, others on reduced hours. This pandemic is impacting many sectors across health and other industries.
Between patient visits, the dentist thoroughly cleans the room, and… if there was any drilling, they leave the room for an hour before cleaning to allow any airborne particles to settle. These necessary and extra precautions have clearly taken a toll on the dentist profession and to their patients who have been suffering like me from the start of the pandemic.
An hour before arriving for my appointment, the practice called me and went through an extensive questionnaire for COVID like symptoms, and again when arriving at the practice there’s a disclaimer you have to verbally agree to, to accept the risk that they are unable to detect if a prior patient had hidden symptoms etc. To be fair, they’d done all they reasonably can to prevent transmission of the virus.
When I arrived for my appointment, I had to call from my car to let them know I’d arrived for my appointment. They explained the requirements, that I wasn’t allowed to touch the doors, the receptionist calls you when they are ready to receive you, and only they will open the door. A receptionist in full PPE will squirt anti-bacterial gel on your hands to wash them. You must wear a mask throughout the reception experience, in addition to their full PPE.
Mind you I was taken a little aback when led to the Dental Treatment Room, my Dentist and nursing Assistant wore blue plastic disposable suits, taped up gloves on their hands, double mask and face visor. It probably hadn’t helped watching all the “Saw” movies back to back this last week…. I wondered if I was going for dental work or going to be cut into little pieces.
We had a chat, confirmed the disclaimer again, he numbed me up and carried on as he would before, as he explained the full PPE was restrictive and would be binned after each patient too. That’s a whole lot of plastic pollution we’re creating here. Can’t help think we’ve gone full circle on plastic usage…
For me the key thing was finally getting treatment, he’d done a great job as usual, patched me up and sent me on my way, only a little tender from the drilling but less pain than the start of this whole sega.
Remember folks, be nice to your Dental Team, they are suffering as much as we are with the current restrictions, wear a face mask that covers your nose and mouth, and please don’t be like the Trumpapoodles that refuse to do all they can to prevent this virus spreading.
Be safe everyone!