We have previously mentioned how, as dentists, we are highly trained in infection control measures which are in place 24/7 and not just during a pandemic. As one of the dental clinics in Auckland that has remained open for emergency dental appointments throughout the Alert Level 4 lockdown period, we have implemented additional infection control measures. The safety of our patients and staff members is our top priority and we have continued to provide essential dental services while ensuring both patients and staff are protected.
Our previous article “Infection Control Measures” details some of the procedures and protocols which are in place, including the phone assessment process, sanitising all surfaces and touch points in-between patients, spacing out appointments and using a double surgery set up.
One measure that is extremely important in infection control is the use of personal protection equipment, or PPE. COVID-19 has brought the effectiveness of gloves and particularly masks in helping to prevent the spread of viruses into the world’s spotlight. At McIntosh Dental our PPE consists of medical-grade:
- Eye protection
- Long-sleeved gowns
- Head covers
- Shoe covers
We require everyone in the clinic to wear a mask at all times. This includes providing a mask for every patient to wear from the time they enter the door until they are in the dental chair, and wearing it again to leave the dental surgery until they exit the building.
Demand for PPE has increased beyond all predictions and suppliers are working around the clock producing the necessary products so clinics like us can continue to provide essential dental services safely. And while the increased demand, usage and requirement for additional PPE items has resulted in rising costs, these measures are absolutely essential to have in place. As always, we continue to monitor and adhere to government and New Zealand Dental Association requirements and guidelines, and it is possible that these enhanced infection control measures may remain in place until a vaccine for COVID-19 is available.