Swords Orthodontics is Reopening Part III: You
First of all, a big thanks from me and everyone here at Swords Ortho for your patience and understanding at what’s been going on over the last 9 weeks....and more importantly, what wasn’t going on – specifically regular orthodontic treatments.
Two weeks after the first recorded coronavirus case in Ireland, on the day before St Patrick’s Day, I made the decision that it was the safest thing for our patients to stop performing routine orthodontics at the practice. We’ve been seeing patients every week since if they had ortho emergencies and problems that couldn’t wait until we reopen and we couldn’t manage with phone advice, but by and large it was safer not to have normal numbers of patients coming through the practice.
Our patients were generally very good about this – it was clear that there was a risk to people’s health and they could see we were playing our part in reducing that risk. This is particularly important when so many of our younger patients attend with their grandparents and we knew from an early stage that older people were more at risk of serious illness if they suffered from Covid19.
A few days later and it wasn’t just us, it seemed like the entire country had closed down and now that it’s “reopening” there are queues outside hardware stores and garden centres like people are going into a rock concert. But there aren’t any rock concerts because there is still a coronavirus to deal with.
So dentistry is one of the activities that will come back as part of the “Phase 1” of reopening and Swords Ortho is delighted to be back to seeing patients.
We have made a few changes that you’ll notice and a few that you won’t unless you look hard, all with a view to making things safer for you – and your family and the people you care about and everyone else you come into contact with.
Since we didn’t see the patients who had appointments in the last few weeks, and our new procedures mean that we take more time with our patients and the safety processes, it’ll take us a while to catch up to where we were – so I’m going to ask you to be patient a bit longer. If you had an appointment in the near future, it might still be changed. There will also be some kinds of treatments that won’t be done in the usual way – we’ll advise you if that is relevant to your appointment.
Right now, we’re concentrating on patients with specific problems that have to be seen soon. If you ever saw the movie Die Hard 2 you’ll remember that some of the aeroplanes are low on fuel so they have to land first, even though there might be other planes that had more people on board or who had been in the air longer. It’s sort of like that for us – there are some orthodontic braces I don’t like to leave unattended too long and others that can be left longer between appointments.
We’ll get to see everyone eventually, but if you have pain or problems with the brace, don’t hesitate to contact us. We’ve been checking the emails and phone calls every day during the closure.
Some of the things that will be different :
Since the coronavirus is still present, and it doesn’t have a vaccine or a reliable treatment, we still have to be careful about it.
The risks are:
- transmission from patient to team
- transmission from team to patient
- transmission from patient to patient
It’s spread by breathing it in directly in droplets or aerosols in the air, or by touching a contaminated surface and then touching your mouth, ears, eyes, nose. That’s why we need to keep some space between us.
Because of that, we want less people in the practice at the same time, and there’ll be plenty of hand cleaning facilities at Swords Ortho.
- We have a “sneeze-screen” around reception, but it’s still important to have good “cough etiquette” – so if you’re going to cough or sneeze, use a tissue and dispose of it carefully or sneeze into the inside corner of your elbow.
- We’ll be calling all our patients in the morning of their appointment to check they’re healthy and able to attend.
- Instead of having people in the waiting room, we’ll ask you to call us when you arrive in Swords and wait in your car (or outside the practice if you’re travelling by other methods) and then we’ll call you when we’re ready to treat you.
- Then you’ll come into the practice, clean your hands, get a temperature check with a non-contact thermometer and then fill out a medical screening form, and then go straight into the clinical area for your treatment.
- We’ll be wearing a bit more clinical gear than usual, but it’s still us behind the masks, so don’t be too surprised when you see us dressed like surgeons on TV.
- After your appointment, clean your hands and head on home. We’ll organise the next appointment by phone. We will also organise payments by phone or online and we’ll do any explaining to parents who want a progress report on their children by phone as well. This is to minimise the time that patients and accompanying people spend in the communal areas of the practice.
The clinical areas of the practice are a high-infection-control area, with the surfaces cleaned between patients and air purifiers and our regular careful sterilising procedures.
So we’ll be seeing you soon. In the meantime - stay safe, clean your hands regularly and look after each other.