OUR COVID-19 UPDATES 2020
Our last update during these Level 5 restrictions! Read more...
our last update during these Level 5 restrictions!
Covid numbers in Donegal have now dropped to a level where we feel happy with patients travelling for their appointments so we plan to re-open the practice on the 1st of February 👍
As always we will be closely following our in-practice protocols regarding Covid-19 to ensure the safety of all our patients and our staff.
As before we would ask you to : - wear a face mask before entering the practice and at all times in the practice
- call us if you have been in contact with a known Covid case or are showing any symptoms of infection, no matter how slight
- sanitise your hands before entering the practice at our hand sanitising station
- please keep a 2m distance from other patients and staff - floor markers are laid out for this purpose sanitise your hands after leaving the practice at our hand sanitising station
- please come for your appointment unaccompanied so we can minimise the number of people present in the practice
We are going to be extremely busy during our first few weeks after re-opening so please be patient if you call and our phones are engaged - you can leave a message and we will get back to you!
Although all patients are permitted to travel over 5kms for dental and medical appointments our re-opening does not mean that level 5 restrictions should not be closely followed when you are outside the practice. Please continue to follow our government's guidelines.
Finally we're all looking forward to getting back to the practice and caring for our patients again and thank you all for your patience and see you soon 👍🙂
Richard, Sian, Síle, Orla, Majella, Emer, Amay and Linda
Just a small update on our present stance in relation to the levels of Covid-19.
The good news is that the numbers of new infections are falling as our lockdown starts to take effect. As this level of new infection decreases we can now plan the re-opening of the practice. This number of new infections recorded does need be at a stage where we will be happy with patients travelling for their dental appointments.
As before this closure ... we are 100% confident that our in-practice protocols are keeping both our patients and staff safe but we were very conscious of the risk of adding to the number of new infections due to patients travelling during the period of dangerously high new positive Covid-19 cases.
We therefore hope to re-open on the 1st of February - and will confirm this next week. This is dependant on Covid numbers continuing to fall.
We will always put our community and our patients' health and safety first. You can be assured that our cross infection procedures and Covid protocols are strictly adhered to and constantly under review.
Thank you all for your patience and understanding with this latest interruption and please continue to follow our governments guidelines on level 5 restrictions. Take care everyone and we'll see you soon 👍🙂
We're closed again! Read more...
Owing to the severe increase in Covid-19 cases and the presence of the more infective variant of Coronavirus which is circulating, we have voluntarily taken the decision to close the practice to routine dental care from the 5th of January.
Although we have every confidence in the measures we take and in our protocols to ensure the safety of our patients and staff in the Practice, we feel that patients travelling for appointments would involve an unacceptable risk for our local communities. As we see patients from all over Donegal and from neighbouring counties the potential spread of infection is significant due to the present uncontrollable nature of Covid-19 infection.
We do however anticipate this closure will only be for a few weeks until the incidence of Covid-19 diminishes with the effect of Level 5 restrictions. This second closure will ensure that, no matter how small the risk may be, our practice will not contribute to any new cases and hence not put our severely stressed Healthcare System and our excellent frontline medical staff under any more pressure.
We will still have an emergency service for severe cases - if you do have an emergency during these few weeks please message us via Facebook or email Richard at email@example.com.
Finally for all our patients - please follow the Government's guidelines on Level 5 restrictions. Our country is at a very critical point in this pandemic and we must all do what we can to safeguard our community and especially to protect our at risk groups.
We will be back soon!! 👍🙂
best wishes and take care,
Richard, Sian, Síle, Orla, Majella, Emer, Amay and Linda 🙂
We're getting close to re-opening now!! Read more...
We have been working hard getting our Covid-19 protocols in place
As we are aiming to far surpass recommendations that were issued to Dental Surgeries on re-opening we are now just waiting on adequate stocks of PPE - we have stocks, but not enough to ensure when we open we stay open.
The HSE was instructed by the Health Department to purchase all stocks of PPE and hold them in their Procurement Division. An arrangement was made by the Irish Dental Association with the HSE to supply Dentists with PPE over 2 weeks ago. The HSE was awaiting instruction from the Health Department to release this protective equipment.
To date, we have not had any supplies.
Yesterday the Irish Dental Association finally managed to get the Health Department to contact the HSE regarding this and they state they will start to supply Dental Surgeries within 7 days ... finally!!
Nearly all of our measures are in place so, providing the HSE supplies the PPE, we should be able to re-open on the 22nd of June.
Please keep an eye on this page as we'll be posting a video to explain our protocols and how we will be keeping you safe when you attend. There will also be information on the steps you need to take before you enter the Practice and during your visit.
It's an exciting time for us - finally being able to get back to work .... so take care in the meantime and we're looking forward to seeing you all again soon!!
Richard, Sian, Orla, Majella, Emer and Amay 🙂
As we're sure you've heard in the media, Dental surgeries were given the go ahead for opening following guidelines set out by the HPSE and the IDC (Irish Dental Council)
Our research and education into CoVid-19 disease has been constant. We have contacts worldwide from whom we have sought advice and conferred with regarding the risks of treatment in a dental practice during this pandemic.
In our opinion the guidance of the HPSE and the IDC is not of a sufficiently high standard in terms of how Dental practices operate to ensure the safety of both patients and staff at present. This is why we haven't opened straight away. We are putting into place measures which far surpass the advice given to dentists in Ireland so when we open, we will be able to make sure that you will not be exposed to any risk when you attend our surgery. We will also ensure our operating environments and our workflow follow protocols that rely on research results where available and on advice of world leaders in Medicine and Dentistry on safe operating procedures.
At the minute we are "putting the pieces in place" and investing heavily in equipment, anti-viral measures, PPE, plus training and learning about changing our approach to Dental care.
We have had staff meetings regarding the changes and now we all feel confident on offering the most secure and safe environment possible as Ireland continues to come out of this crisis.
All the details of our planning will come soon, together with some advice for our patients 🙂
We have always prided ourselves on our levels of cross infection control and have always had standards above what is recommended in this regard. Our new standards and way of working will again surpass any recommendations - you can be sure that when we open we are looking after you in terms not just of your dental health, but of your general health as well.
We will still constantly watch the situation in Co Donegal as well as nationally with respect to Coronavirus cases and levels. At present Ireland is managing the crisis extremely well and as long as this continues we will be able to open safely.
So we are planning to re-open in mid June
Please keep an eye on our Facebook page - we'll be posting lots more information closer to the time as we work hard towards re-opening and update you on our progress.
It's been a long break (too long!) and we're all excited to get back to the practice, start work, and see you all again!!
Richard, Sian, Aleks, Orla, Majella, Emer and Amay
The practice remains closed Read more...
The practice remains closed at present as we closely follow guidelines and developments from the Irish Dental Association, our government and many other sources as to when it will be safe for us to re-open.
We are constantly working .... reading research papers, contacting colleagues around the world, plus looking carefully at how other countries are handling the provision of dental treatment as the pandemic unfolds.
There is a huge amount of false information, false advice for dentists and misleading protocols to enable re-opening of practices. In my opinion my most reliable source of information is from both the fortnightly webinar held by the Deans of the Royal Colleges of Physicians and Surgeons of the UK and Ireland and from one of my friends and University colleagues who is Dean of the Dental faculty in the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Glasgow. This information comes from worldwide leaders and experts in the fields of Dentistry and Medicine.
I attended the RCPS webinar last night which was very informative and helpful and enables me to look forward to some planning on how and when we can re-open. Here is a summary of advice and information from the Deans : Our primary concern and focus is that we can guarantee your safety as our patients when we do return. Our normal decontamination and sterilisation procedures will ensure that there is no possibility of surface spread of Covid-19 as we have always had strict protocols in place in this regard. The novel Coronavirus however is presenting further problems for dental practices in terms of complete control of any possibility of cross infection.
This virus is new and little is known in the medical and scientific communities about it's primary and secondary methods of spread. We do know it is highly infective ... much more so than the common cold and influenza viruses. A dental practice consistently performs "risk assessments" in terms of infection control. Before we closed we were performing this by contacting patients by phone the day before their appointment and assessing whether they had any symptoms of Covid-19 disease, had travelled to affected countries or had been in contact with a symptomatic person. We followed HSE guidelines on this. Unfortunately we now know that carrying out 100% reliable risk assessment is at present impossible as we do not know enough about this novel Coronavirus and this leads to the possibility of spread of infection in a dental practice.
We have also been looking at investing in air purification systems for every area of the practice. Research has now been performed into these, the result being that even at 99.5% filtration rate, these systems will not produce a high enough reduction in airborne virus in aerosol from dental procedures, coughing, sneezing etc. At present there is no evidence that these are in any way effective as we simply do not know enough about the airborne concentration and infectivity of novel Coronavirus.
PPE : everyone knows this term now!! .... it may be that when we return we will have to implement major changes to our PPE with what is known as full FFP3 PPE being required (this is what you see the ICU doctors wearing at present) Again however ... there is not enough known about this virus to give a definitive answer on what level of PPE is required for dental staff. It is also still impossible to source from any of our suppliers due to the worldwide shortage. One very significant message to come out of the Royal Colleges is that we have NO high quality evidence of ANY aspect of this disease. Dentists need to determine when we can re-open ONLY after research and investigations have been carried out and scientific results of this have been analysed and published. It is imperative that dentists realise that this is a much bigger issue than Dentistry, much as we are desperate to get back to work and care for our patients. Once a dental practice opens people start to move about to attend appointments etc. This will increase the transmission rate of the virus so it is not just about when we can re-open, it is a matter of when we can re-open and still safeguard our patients, the population and indeed our country.
We now have our exit strategy mapped out in Ireland .... our 5 phase plan. The Dean of the RCS in Dublin was walking about this and stated that none of the healthcare provisions have been entered into this plan so, from our respect, we have no clear guidance. The good news is that representatives of the Irish Dental Association have a meeting with the Minister for Health this week - we hope to get some answers and opinion then. In summary the advice is :
...... no dental procedures should be undertaken due to the risk of public transmission
...... the time to return to practice and re-open dental surgeries is definitely not when there is the presence of uncertainty in both transmission and infectivity of this virus.
The Deans of all the Royal Colleges are working on a national level in the UK and Ireland to solve these problems and give sound, accurate guidance on when we can return to practice.
We will only re-open when we can categorically ensure the safety of our patients and our staff and when there is no risk of increasing the rate of transmission of the virus in our local and indeed national, population.
The good news .... !!! things are moving very quickly in terms of research as this is a worldwide crisis. This week the SDCEP (Scottish Dental Clinical Effectiveness Programme) is carrying out studies and from these we will have guidelines that are scientifically based and will be effective. Research is being published on a day to day basis and I feel we will soon have answers into how and when we can open our practice and what protocols we will have to implement. To ensure your safety we will not open until we have sound, researched evidence and will never base our re-opening on supposition and guesswork.
Remember, we are here for any emergencies you have. Simply send us a message on Facebook or via e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org with a description of your problem and a contact number and I'll call you to arrange suitable treatment.
I would ask you all to PLEASE (!!) share this post ... it will help all patients, not just patients of our practice, understand why dental surgeries remain closed and cannot yet return to normal work. I have access to these Royal College webinars purely because I am an honorary member of the RCPS in Glasgow so some of this information may help others who cannot access it.
If you've made it this far well done !! .... it's a long post! I hope you can now understand the position we are all in as dentists at present.
We will keep working hard and hopefully it will be sooner rather than later that we can re-open.
Take care everyone, stay safe and we'll keep updating both here on Facebook and on our website. best wishes, Richard
Looking at the latest research, the reasons for our decision to close the practice are sound. One of our primary reasons for closure is for your protection. It still seems that the Coronavirus may be airborne in an enclosed space for up to 3 hours following coughing/sneezing and especially following aerosol generation (which happens if we use any water or air during treatment which is unavoidable)
There is also a high potential for surface to surface spread with patients attending the surgery.
Our practice routinely runs to an extremely high standard of sterilisation however no dental practice can at present eliminate the potential for spread of Covid-19 and hence the risk to patients is still unacceptable.
We are following the very latest medical research papers and reports both on mechanisms of spread of Covid-19 and on procedures to allow us to open the practice and be able to see our patients in a safe and controlled environment. Sadly there is little progress on knowledge of the degree of virus present in dental aerosols. It is vital for infection control that dental practices are aware of the amount and duration of viral presence following treatment to ensure a safe environment for its patients.
In this respect we are also looking at research into viral air scrubbers ..... this is a technology that can remove viral particles (essentially to the size of Coronavirus) from the air throughout the practice. If it is proven that the degree of airborne virus present is of sufficient density and duration then such equipment will be essential and we will invest heavily in it to guarantee all our safety.
I had a long conversation with the Chief Dental Officer from the HSE last week who confirmed our thinking was absolutely correct. I was asking about the progress on the setup of emergency dental centres (this has already been implemented in the UK and many European countries) but it seems this isn't a priority .... which it should be. At present I'm trying to get more information via email and twitter from Simon Harris TD, our Minister for Health, to confirm that a policy is in place to implement these centres. I'll be attending another webinar on Tuesday evening hosted by the Deans of the Royal Colleges of Physicians and Surgeons throughout the UK and Ireland where I'll be able to get the very latest information and to ask questions regarding dental treatment and the Coronavirus crisis. There is a lot of false information circulating and these webinars enable me to get sound, researched information and the opinions of the leaders in Medicine and Dentistry which is essential to be able to envisage our way forward. Hopefully some more information will be forthcoming so we can set in place a plan for reopening the practice and source any necessary additional equipment plus PPE that is deemed essential.
All these measures are primarily for your safety and we can guarantee that once we reopen you will be attending a practice that continues to prioritise our patients' health and safety and will enable us to keep providing the highest levels of dental care in a risk free environment. In the meantime don't forget - if you have a dental emergency please send us a message via Facebook or email with a description of your problem and your phone number and I'll call you and can give advice and prescriptions if necessary.
Finally ... we all hope you are taking care and urge you to follow our government's guidance. We will, as a population, get through this crisis and can all look forward to a return to the way of life we know and love in Ireland.
all our best wishes,
Richard, Siân, Aleks, Orla, Majella, Emer and Amay
The practice remains closed during the nationwide lockdown. We have had little direction from our governing body, the Irish Dental Council, so have been doing a lot of research into how Dentistry is being managed worldwide. The HSE advice is that we can see severe emergencies (intractable swelling or persistent bleeding) provided we have the maximum degree of PPE (personal protective equipment) As I'm sure you're all aware the availability of this, even to hospital staff, is in a critical state and quite rightly all anti viral PPE supplies are being directed to medical hospital staff.
Its therefore impossible for us to source the degree of PPE required. In the UK, the USA, Australia, New Zealand and the rest of Europe dental surgeries are closed. Emergency remote care is being practiced. In my view this is the ONLY responsible approach and also falls in line with our medical practice locally and over Ireland.
We feel a huge responsibility to our patients in these difficult times, from the point of view of both your dental health and your medical health. This Novel Coronavirus, unlike many other viruses, can be present for up to 3 hours following aerosol production from coughing, sneezing and especially dental treatment. This is why we are in isolation as a population and why the risk of treating patients is extreme for both dentist and patient .... an unacceptable risk in present times.
With the global pandemic I feel it is only ethical and indeed essential for dental practices to not contribute, in any way, to the potential spread of infection within its base of patients and within the wider community. We must protect our patients and community as much as is possible. Our government is suggesting setting up emergency dental centres where dentists can work in a very controlled environment with full PPE .... hopefully this will be implemented soon.
For this reason and following how this is being managed worldwide, we are not seeing or treating patients in the practice. In case of emergency we are providing a call back service to assess your problem and we're working closely with Kelly's Pharmacy in Ardara to prescribe and manage any dental pain you may have.
Please message us on Facebook, or email email@example.com, with some details of your problem and a contact number and we'll call you back as soon as possible.
Obviously these measures can and will change so please keep an eye on our Facebook page and website for any updates. We all hope you keep well and keep safe and really look forward to re opening the practice and seeing you in the (hopefully!) not too distant future.
Take care everyone
Richard and all the team at Ardara Dental
After a lot of consultation with Health bodies and fellow professionals worldwide we have had to make the very difficult decision to close our practice from Monday 23/03/20 for the foreseeable future.
Our policy of health and safety for our patients and staff has always been strictly adhered to. We are in a position now where we have to ensure that there is no increased risk of Coronavirus infection for you, our patients, or for our staff, however small. By taking this decision we can also protect both our local community and the wider communities of our patients who travel from afar from any spread of potential infection.
We are contacting any patients with future appointments and will be postponing making further appointments until this crisis is past and we reopen. We will then contact you to rearrange your appointments.
For your reassurance - we will never leave emergency patients without dental care. In this regard we will see patients for emergencies by reopening the surgery and will be waiving the usual fee for emergency call outs to the practice. Do please note, in the interests of the safety of patients and staff, that this is for severe emergencies only such as severe swelling, pain, bleeding and trauma. We can be contacted via the practice website (www.ardaradental.com) and via Facebook messenger. Hopefully our country will come through the crisis in as short a time as possible and life will get back to normal for us all.
We'll post on our page updates on how we're all occupying ourselves during this enforced closure - which will hopefully cause some amusement at times!!
Take care everyone and we'll be back soon - we're looking forward to that time.
with all our very best wishes,
Richard and all the team at Ardara Dental.