Dentistry and the current COVID-19 pandemic
Like everyone else, it’s been a challenging time for us in dental practice. We received notification on 23 March that we had to close our doors and stop treating our patients. At the time no one really knew what the risks were, or how the virus was transmitted.
Over subsequent weeks we manned the phones to deal with queries, provided advice, prescribed antibiotics and cancelled a lot of pre booked appointments! Our team ran errands, did shopping for some of our shielding patients, collected prescriptions and generally provided an ear to listen to some of our patients who were left isolated during that initial lockdown.
Many of the team were left exasperated that they couldn’t provide solutions to the dental problems that some of our community were experiencing.
Thankfully, at the start of May our application to become an urgent care centre was accepted by the NHS local team so we were able to start seeing patients to provide very limited treatments. Not ideal, but at least we could provide a solution to the most acute situations.
Gradually we were allowed to reopen more fully, providing more treatment options. Many of the treatments we provide in dentistry involve creating a spray which potentially can create an increased risk to the dental team, so a raft of new protocols were introduced including enhanced PPE. We had made the decision in early April to invest in technology to clear the air from the surgeries more effectively which has allowed us to get back on track, but everything takes more time and involves more team members, so we still have a much lower capacity than pre COVID. Please bear with us!
As we have been able to see more patients, we have all noticed an increase in the number of suspicious lesions. Oral cancer is a disease that is increasing in prevalence but often is something that goes unnoticed by many patients in the early stages.
Whilst it has nothing to do with the SARS-COV-2 virus, the fact that we haven’t been able to see everyone as frequently as we would like this year we think has resulted in small early issues which we often refer for investigation not being identified as early as we would like.
November has been designated as Mouth cancer awareness month. We would like to use this opportunity to ask anyone who has an ulcer that isn’t healing after 2 weeks, or an un explained lump or bump that has developed in their mouths to get in touch so that we can have a look, ideally providing reassurance, but if not make an early referral for appropriate care.
We are staying open during this new lockdown in November and will continue to provide care for everyone who needs it. To ensure the safety of everyone we ask that you only come to the practice if you have an appointment. Please call us if you need advice, have concerns or want to book a screening appointment.
Please stay safe, but rest assured that we are available if you need us.
Amble Dental Practice