This is what your next dentist appointment might look like after lockdown

So many industries have been impacted by the coronavirus outbreak, not least the ones that require physical contact with another person. From hairdressers to medical professionals, the way of working in these areas are going to need to be adapted as we readjust to our new normal – including how we go to the dentist.

‘All dental professionals working in practice to wear appropriate levels of PPE,’ says Dr Rhona Eskander, owner of the Chelsea Dental Clinic. ‘A survey conducted by Pandora Dental amongst 2,500 dental professionals shows only 7.4 per cent experienced covid-19 symptoms prior to the lockdown, which is much lower than the general population, and can be attributed to their use of PPE.’

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‘Once we are open we have exceptional PPE from sterilised gowns to masks and goggles,’ adds Dr Rhona, who plans to reopen her practice on 8 June. However, just because PPE has always been present in the dentist’s office, that doesn’t mean changes won’t need to be implemented.

We asked Dr Rhona to outline the protocol she’s undertaking – and it’s likely you’ll see many of these updates at your next routine appointment too.

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What your next dentist appointment will look like after lockdown

Mouthwash as you enter

All patients to use an anti-microbial mouthwash which is 99.999 per cent effective at killing coronaviruses as soon as they enter the dental practice.

Cleaning the air

Some dental waiting rooms and dental surgeries to be fitted with Radic8 clean air systems. These systems were developed in South Korea in 2004 in response to the SARS outbreak. They have been proven to kill coronaviruses in the air, and ensure that airborne, droplet viruses, such as covid-19 are neutralised before they are inhaled. The systems are currently used on all South Korean covid-19 wards. This pioneering technology is used widely in clinics worldwide, and the typical time to completely change the air in a room is 5 minutes (around 25 minutes shorter that the ‘open window’ practice – meaning significantly more patients can be safely treated in a day).

Cleaning the practice

All dental practices are already required to thoroughly clean the consulting room and sterilise equipment between patients and sufficient time is allowed between patients to ensure this is conducted effectively. Many practices are also installing the anti-viral clean air systems in the reception and waiting areas.

dentist appointment after lockdown
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Cleaning the water supply

It is also being recommended that hypochlorous acid (which is anti-viral and anti-bacterial) is added to the water supply used in the consulting rooms. This is an agent widely used in the food industry and it is non-toxic to people, although highly effective against pathogens.

Rubber dams during your examination

Affectionately known to dentists as ‘tooth raincoats’, rubber dams enable dentists to work on the teeth and ensure that gums and saliva are not unnecessarily exposed to the environment. Pandora recommend rubber dam treatment is used for every patient, even for routine dental check-ups.