New guidance, new expectations
Dental practices are continuing to reopen at their own pace. It was clear in the lead up to June 8 – when dental practices in England were allowed to open – that every practice was going to ensure they were fully prepared before welcoming patients back.
Preparation has meant adapting and enhancing the infection control measures already in place to prevent the transmission of Coronavirus. Pre-Coronavirus, patients would attend a dental practice and expect to see the clinical team wearing various types of personal protective equipment (PPE), including gloves, masks, aprons, and/or visors, depending on what treatment was being delivered. Whereas the acronym PPE was largely unknown outside healthcare circles before 2020, now everyone knows what it stands for as it has rarely been out of the headlines. According to a survey by the BDA, a lack of PPE was identified as one of the major challenges and reasons why many dental practices did not open in early June. Four months previously, the WHO warned of “severe and mounting disruption” to the global supply of PPE, including medical masks, due to “hoarding, panic buying and misuse”.