RCSEd Dental Ambassadors on COVID-19: Changes in the Orthodontics Team
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The health, wellbeing and safety of patients, their families and our people has always been the College’s main priority. With the COVID-19 outbreak posing significant challenges to the Dental Teams, our Dental Ambassadors are staying in touch and keeping us updated with the latest changes in their departments.
We spoke to Charlotte Dugdale, Consultant Orthodontist at Royal Blackburn and Tameside General Hospitals. Charlotte also holds a Senior Clinical Fellow post at the University of Manchester and Charlotte also works in primary care and private Orthodontics on a part-time basis.
How has the COVID-19 outbreak affected your dental practice and patient treatments?
"All outpatient services stopped and no emergency clinics running as from March 16th 2020. Clinics have been replaced with telephone consultations, giving tailored advice to patients on appliance care and appointment cancellations. All new patient appointments postponed until further notice. In Primary care: all routine orthodontic and dental appointments stopped as of March 24th. GDPs are managing all dental and orthodontic emergencies, with only pain or aspiration risk now being deemed an emergency."
What measures is your practice taking to increase standards in care and hygiene?
"Face to face clinics have been replaced with telephone consultations, giving tailored advice to patients on appliance care and appointment cancellations with patient notes (consultant/clinician led). Over the phone advice where possible, and for post-operation osteotomies, Facetime or video calls made to deliver advice. A letter was sent out to all patients with advice on appliance and oral hygiene and management of active treatment as well as emergency broken braces. Working with MCN to try and establish an offsite emergency dental/orthodontic service that can be accessed by secondary care patients. We have left orthodontic wax with local pharmacies to dispense to orthodontic patients who need it to avoid entering a hospital or having to send it out."
How is the dental team adapting during the COVID-19 pandemic and what are the main priorities established during these difficult times?
"We are adapting by contacting patients, prioritising safety of staff and patients, but limiting visits to hospital. Reassurance and ensuring all admin taken care so when redeployment happens there are no loose ends and patients are clear on the direction of the service. Trying to work with secondary care providers to set up an emergency clinic for those true orthodontic emergencies, PPE and appropriate usage for our role."
For more COVID-19 updates and stories, check our news page.
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