Whilst we feel we’ve managed to catch up on a lot of the things that were put back during 2020, every day we’re reminded that there are still a large number of our patients whom we haven’t yet seen since before March last year.
Those who have booked an appointment recently may well have noticed that there can be a bit of wait and when visiting the practice things can take a little longer too!
There have been a great many changes but I though it might be useful to try and explain a few of them to help you better understand why it’s a bit trickier to get an appointment….
This is one of the biggest limitations on our time. Any time we pick up a drill or scaler which sprays water and creates an aerosol (an “aerosol generating procedure” or “AGP”) we have to leave the surgery for half an hour after the procedure prior to carry out a deep clean.
This has meant that we have had to close one of our four surgeries to provide a spare surgery to use while one is being left after an AGP.
Because we need to wear higher levels of personal protective equipment for an AGP (FFP3 respirator masks and surgical gowns) they take longer to put on and take off. This means that each appointment takes longer (and as it is more difficult to work wearing these masks, examinations themselves tend to take a bit longer too….).
We’re keen that everyone can maintain a safe distance so our waiting room, which normally accommodates around ten people, is limited to three people (or occasionally households). This can mean a bit of a wait outside if there are already people in our waiting area.
Longer recalls mean more complex problems
The extended time between a lot of people’s visits means that more trivial problems have often progressed to more significant problems which are more complex to resolve., In pre-Covid days we were seeing people often and intercepting problems early whereas now we are seeing problems that have been developing for perhaps 18 months or more. More complex problems mean more surgery time, thus reducing appointment availability.
Despite all of these issues, we’ve been so grateful for the positive feedback we’ve had from patients who have felt the measures we’ve put in place have given them a safe and comfortable experience. We’re working our absolute hardest to get through as much as we can. As ever, please get in touch if you have any queries about how Covid is impacting your dental services.