It‘s been a challenging and worrying time for everyone in our community. We hope you and your loved ones are safe and well and continue to remain so.
The safety and well-being of our patients is the reason for providing you with this information. Before the Covid-19 pandemic, The Smile Gallery always operated to the highest levels of infection control and decontamination and, like any medical profession, we are used to working in an environment where there is the potential for exposure to viruses and bacteria.
We do everything possible to reduce the risk to our team and to our patients. And we do it well! So, when you come back to see us we want you to have every confidence and more that we will do everything possible to make your visit as safe and comfortable as possible.
This page is designed to explain what we do already and highlight some of the things that are new or different so when you arrive for you next appointment with us, you do so with confidence.
Before our first patient of the day, the treatment room is aired properly and all surfaces are disinfected. All waterlines are flushed to remove the water that has been left overnight.
Throughout The Day
Before and after each patient appointment, we clean and disinfect all surfaces, cupboards, chairs, lights and fixtures, buttons and handles using disinfecting sprays and wipes. Suction hoses are cleaned and disinfected and all waterlines are flushed through after every patient, for a minimum of 20 seconds. All instruments undergo vigorous sterilisation process after every use and all clinical waste is safely stored and disposed. All common areas are also wiped and cleaned to maintain good hygiene throughout the practice.
All removable components of the dental chair are detached and disinfected or sterilised, while all surfaces are disinfected using specifically approved disinfecting liquids and equipment. The entire practice is hoovered and mopped following strict guidelines. When the last appointment of the day is completed, all waterlines are once more flushed through, ready for the start of another day!
In order to ensure high levels of compliance we regularly complete thorough internal and governing body audits to continuously ensure our standards remain high and we always aim to achieve best practice.
In line with Government and public health body guidance, The Smile Gallery have implemented a variety of new measures to protect our patients and our team. Our aim is to continue effectively managing all stages of your treatment in a way that reduces the risk of transmission of the virus.
You will find that the practice may appear quite bare when you attend. We have temporarily removed magazines as well as decor items from our waiting area, since these items can be a source of virus transmission.
Each team member will be assessed daily to ensure your safety. For all appointments, you will see our team members wearing full personal protective equipment (PPE) in line with current guidance.
We have no intention of being antisocial, but to minimise the risk of infection, we will not be shaking your hands and will maintain our distance where possible.
Whilst these measures may make us appear impersonal and distant, please BE ASSURED WE ARE STILL THE SAME FRIENDLY TEAM UNDERNEATH IT ALL!
• Please ONLY visit if our team have contacted you and you have a confirmed appointment.
• You will be emailed medical and dental questionnaire (patient portal) as well as consent forms to complete prior to your visit. It is vital you complete this before your appointment as this will cause unnecessary delay to your appointment. As we have to limit the number of people in our patient lounge at any one time we have have to ask you to complete this in your car or outside the practice.
• 24- 48 hours before your appointment a team member will conduct a COVID-19 Symptom assessment and confirm that paperwork has been completed and returned. During this call we will also take pre-payment for your upcoming visit to make the appointment as contact-free as possible on the day.
• We may even book you a video or telephone appointment with our clinical team to better understand your current health and immediate needs
• You must attend the appointment alone, unless they are accompanying a minor or a attending as a carer
• Use of bathroom is out of bounds- we recommend where possible to use your bathroom at home before visiting the practice
• Please ensure you bring a mask with you to wear at all times whilst in the practice unless advised to remove by the dental team when commencing treatment
• Please remain in your car or stand away from the door and call the practice to alert us of your arrival. We may not be able to accommodate patients in our reception due to social distancing rules, and may ask you to wait in your car or outside
• Please ensure you bring a mask with you which you must wear before entering the practice premise. We advise you wear the mask at all times whilst in the practice unless advised to remove by the dental team when commencing treatment
• Before entering, your temperature will be taken with a non-contact thermometer, confirming that you have no fever.
• Bring minimum belongings with you as these will be placed in a box in the practice corridor. Even though the practice door will be locked we cannot be held responsible for the safety of personal items
• You will be asked to use alcohol hand gel before entering the practice (and may be requested to this multiple times during your visit)
• You will be asked to use alcohol hand gel or wash your hands before we commence treatment (and may be requested to this multiple times during your visit)
• You will be asked to rinse with Hydrogen Peroxide Mouthwash for 60 secs to reduce the bacterial load in the mouth
• If needed, following your assessment we may have to arrange a subsequent telephone or video consult to discuss your treatment options. This will minimise any unnecessary wait at the practice, as well as speech and breathing aerosols.
• For all treatment, you will be seen by team members wearing full personal protective equipment (PPE) in line with current guidance
• Your safety and the safety of our team is paramount for this reason you will see us wearing PPE that will protect you as well as our dental team during any treatment due to the close proximity we have to be within during treatment.
Majority of treatments fall into the category of Aerosol Generating Procedures (AGP’s). AGP’s carry the greatest risk of infection to the team and for this reason you will find the team wearing enhanced PPE.
Due to the current climate and part of The Smile Gallery’s COVID-19 Health and safety protocols as outlined by dental governing bodies enhanced PPE- Personal Protective Equipment will be required for some of your visits. Please note the fee for enhanced PPE is £42 PER appointment and all visits cannot be listed on your treatment plan as they are ad hoc items and this fee will be chargeable for every visit that entails an Aerosol Generating Procedure (AGP)
This fee is purely for the cost of the PPE only and this fee will apply at each visit that requires any aerosol generating treatment regardless of the length of treatment. This is an ad hoc item that cannot be treatment planned in advance and therefore may not always be listed on your treatment plan as this item is added as and when needed.
• A rubber dam may also be used during treatment, together with a high-volume aspirator to allow aerosol infection prevention management
• Where possible all payments will be taken in advance before your appointment to try and reduce your time at reception and within the practice.
• All future appointments will be arranged with the practice receptionist after the end of your treatment prior to leaving the practice or over the phone after your leave
• In addition to all the cross infection protocols we already complete on a daily basis we have introduced hourly cleans and after the departure of every patient we will complete thorough disinfection and decontamination of all clinical and common areas, including door handles, door frames, all surfaces, all items at reception, front door and the garden space
Considering the extent of the new protocols, increase in appointment times, additional equipment and materials to manage any infection transmission risks, and after a great deal of deliberation, we have decided to absorb majority of the increased expenses and not increase prices of treatments for the moment as gesture of goodwill and a thank you from us for all your continued support!
The past few months have been difficult for all. Our small family run practice has been providing Free of Charge emergency triage for not only our patients but all those in the local community who have been unable to have access to any care.
We are truly grateful to all our wonderful patients for patience and understanding during these unprecedented times. Thank you to all our patients who took the time to send kind, supportive and reassuring messages to us during this time and we are equally as excited to see you all very soon!