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How our Dental Clinic is preventing the spread of COVID-19

health professional wearing a protective mask in their clinic

We’re taking extra precautions — find out what they are

Our knowledge of the novel coronavirus is rapidly changing. The information contained within this article is correct at time of publishing. For the most current advice, please see your state government’s health advice.

At The Point Dental, we’re remaining up-to-date with all government-issued updates to essential services. Currently, all non-urgent public dental procedures across Victoria have been placed on hold until July 2020 to contain the spread of COVID-19.

What does this mean for you? What is classified as urgent dental care? Read on to find out if you’re eligible to receive dental care, and how we are taking stringent precautions to protect the safety of both you, and our team members.

But, first, we’ll explain how these rules and regulations have been formulated.

What are the current restrictions

On the 25th of March 2020, the Australian Health Protection Principal Committee (AHPPC) announced Level 3 restrictions for dental services. This means all non essential or routine examinations and treatments should be deferred. And dentists should only perform services which do not generate aerosols.

Who comes up with the guidelines for restrictions on services?

Currently, individual states and territories are handling their responses to advise from governing bodies like:

  • The Australian Government
  • The AHPPC
  • The Australian Dental Association (ADA)

What is The Point Dental doing to reduce the spread of COVID-19?

person washing their hands in a sink with soap and water

We’re adhering to the ADA’s ‘Managing COVID-19 Guidelines’ and ensuring we limit our services and treatments to what is allowed in the Level 3 restrictions.

The guidelines also advise dental practices to communicate with clients any changes to procedures, and alter the way we conduct regular business. We have:

  • Removed magazines and toys from our waiting rooms
  • Adjusted the seating in our waiting rooms to ensure social distancing of at least 1.5 metres between the seats where possible

We also:

  • Regularly wipe down surfaces with >60% alcohol-based wipes, including door handles, reception desks, and phones
  • Use hospital-grade, TGA-listed disinfectant commonly used against contagious viruses

Upon arrival, clients must use hand sanitiser for 20 seconds. When entering a surgery room, the client must wash their hands prior to sitting in the dental chair.

What services can you perform if I am not suspected of having COVID-19?

We can perform any dental surgeries which do not involve the generation of much blood or saliva. This includes:

  • Management of acute dental pain, such as extractions
  • Management of damaged upper front teeth
  • Treatment of soft tissue problems such as ulcers
  • Management of complex medically compromised patients with dental concerns which may compromise their immune systems
  • Management of patients referred by a medical practitioner for medically necessary dental care
  • Treating those at a higher risk of rapid progression of dental disease due to socioeconomic or cultural factors (such as smoking cigarettes)

If you need urgent dental treatment which involves surgery, like removal of wisdom teeth, you’ll need to be referred to specialist oral surgeons who will perform these procedures using transmission-based preventative precautions.

What services can’t you perform even if I’m not at risk of having COVID-19?

Unless you meet the above criteria, all routine treatments and examinations need to be deferred for the following symptoms or issues:

  • Teeth extraction of teeth which are not swollen
  • Broken or chipped tooth/teeth
  • Bleeding or sore gums
  • Loose teeth without aspiration risk
  • Denture concerns
  • Crown and bridge treatments
  • Scales and cleans
  • Clicking or grating the jaw

If you do meet the criteria and you present with the above symptoms, you can be treated.

If this information confuses you, or you’re unsure whether you qualify for treatment, contact our friendly team. We’re remaining vigilant to the changes in government regulations, and can give you our expert advice.

What happens if I do have COVID-19 and I need urgent dental treatment?

man holding his mouth due to toothache

Unfortunately, the ADA’s guidelines state:

“There will be very few situations where a patient confirmed with, or at risk of COVID-19 infection has a significant dental emergency such that the use of analgesics will not allow a delay until the patient has reached end of any mandatory quarantine period.”

You will need to consult with your medical practitioner and a dental surgeon to see what can be done. If absolutely required, you can receive treatment — but the proper preventative measures will need to be undertaken by the professional treating you.

What happens if I’m in a lot of pain and I’m scared of the dentist?

At The Point Dental, we specialise in treating clients who suffer from dental fear. Talk to our professional and compassionate team members about your experience, and symptoms, and we’ll help you through this, step-by-step.

It’s a difficult time for everyone, and there is a fear around seeking urgent medical help if you’re in pain. We understand, we care — and we’re here.