Chichester dental practice reopens – but how has a trip to the dentist changed?

The principal dentist at a recently-reopened practice in Chichester has explained how a visit to the dentist been changed by the coronavirus crisis.

Staff at Market House Dental practice
Staff at Market House Dental practice

Market House Dental Practice in Market Avenue, Chichester, welcomed patients back last Monday for the first time since March.

Roger Scholes, principal dentist at the private practice, has explained what changes have been put in place to ensure the safety and care of patients.

He said one of the key adjustments to the usually-busy practice had been creating a ‘minimum-contact environment’.

He said: “Patients will be triaged by phone or video consultation.

“Booking appointments and making payments will be done over the phone or online for the time being.

“And on arrival you will normally go straight to your treatment room, and leave straight after the appointment.”

Mr Scholes said the new format had been working ‘really well’ so far.

From a patient’s perspective, it means no more hanging around in the waiting room ahead of an appointment.

And from a dentist’s point of view, it means treatment can start straight away, as the problem has already been diagnosed in advance.

“It’s actually a far more efficient model for the patient,” Mr Scholes said.

Aside from the practical measures to reduce the number of people at the practice and time spent in the building, there are also stringent and regular sanitisation protocols in place.

Patients will also have their temperature checked as soon as they arrive and will asked a set of Covid-19 screening questions as standard.

Mr Scholes said the dental practice has had to invest in an array of new equipment and technology to make it safe to reopen.

These range from HEPA air filtration in each surgery room, new low irritation virus-killing de-sanitisers, fogging systems to de-sanitise and new aspiration equipment.

Added to that, all practices are required to use significant levels of PPE – which Mr Scholes can cost the practice up to £50 per patient.

Staff training, new protocols and systems will all re-shape the current running of the practice.

Mr Scholes said: “Suffice to say that a trip to the dentist will look a bit different for a while yet.

“Though there are many challenges to overcome with these restrictions, it is a relief to finally be able to see and treat our patients.

“Everyone is thrilled to be back.”

He said the process of getting ready to reopen had been ‘a really exciting journey’. “We’ve been forced to change the industry habits of a lifetime,” he said.

Market House will be accepting non-registered patients for urgent treatment cases for the next two months, find out more on their website.

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