Dental PPE is personal protective equipment which dentists have to use to remain protected from germs and as we all know- at the moment, the enhanced PPE that we wear is due to the Coronavirus. The PPE for dentists includes masks, gloves, aprons, gowns and visors. We had to operate by providing telephone advice during the first lockdown. This was until we had been given permission to open by our Chief Dental Officer and until we could get hold of the PPE that we needed- but as soon we had it ready, we were open in June. It is hard to believe that 6 months have really gone by…
There are many different types of masks and they all have different uses depending on what type of dental treatment we are carrying out. New to the dental world since the COVID-19 pandemic is the FFP3 mask-check out the photos below to see the fit testing we had to have done to be able to use them. As per the guidance, it was a requirement that the correct mask size was fitted to each dentist and nurse to ensure that it sealed correctly before we could safely use them in the dental practice. These masks are especially for the treatments that involve lots of water, drilling and splatter. Some of you may have already seen these when you have been coming in for your appointments and perhaps even asked us to speak up- as we do sound a little muffled in these masks at times! We call these the Darth Vader mask!
Then there is the plastic shield going over our faces- these are bigger than they used to be. Depending on the dental treatment we are doing we also have to wear the long sleeve gowns. Gloves – of course we always did use anyway. See the photo below to see the complete look that we need specifically for what we call - high risk dental procedures! Can you make a guess for which dentist and nurse you think is in the photo below….?
We are so glad that we had the safety procedures and PPE in place after the first lockdown-this meant that we were able to get so many patients out of dental pain through this challenging time! Yes, the number of patients we could see per day was much less, as so many patients had built up to be seen for emergency treatment since the lockdown. We also had to reduce the number of patients coming into the practice- to allow for social distancing in the waiting room and to maintain astringent safety measures in the surgeries, all in helping to keep our community in Hatfield stay safe. Of course, these measures do continue!
Now we are over the bulk of the emergency patients coming in and most of our patients are pain-free, it is great to start settling into seeing our routine patients. We realise it’s the third lock down, to keep you updated- we are equipped with the safety procedures, PPE, and the dental supplies we need to run a safe essential service. We are pleased we can continue to see our patients, helping to prevent dental pain and problems in the future.