Now that New Zealand has moved into level 2, we’re pleased to announce that Totara Orthodontists is back in business. And, we have a heap of work to do.
A welcome relief
On Monday the 11th of May, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced that New Zealand would begin a move to alert level 2. However, it wasn’t until the night of her announcement that the Dental Council confirmed that dental professionals can still perform aerosol generating procedures (AGP). The news came as a big relief because without AGPs, we would have to make major changes to how we perform many of our procedures, like bonding and removing brackets.
Regardless of the Dental Council’s announcement, we are still extremely mindful of aerosol. Consequently, we now carry out work that requires AGPs in a separate room to reduce the possibility of spreading germs.
Before you visit our clinic, please let us know if something is broken. If you don’t, we may not be able to see you because the room for fixing appliances may already be in use.
Compared to life before lockdown, we have, not surprisingly, changed some of our procedures. For example, to allow our staff more time to change PPE and clean equipment, we have slowed things down a bit. Of course, hygiene has always been a top priority for us, but post lockdown, we are super vigilant. We are also required to wear some different items of PPE. Our staff have always worn scrubs. However, instead of tunics over their everyday clothes, Drs Fiona Turner and Donna Lim now also wear scrubs, as well as a face shield (like a visor), instead of the usual mask.
We are also limiting the number of short appointments. We’re doing this to prevent having too many patients moving through our clinic all at once. Hence, we are asking some patients to wait in their cars until we notify them that we are ready to see them.
First things first
Right now, we’re prioritising emergency procedures, like fixing broken bracket and sticking-out wires. Prior to lockdown, we had bookings for around 1,000 readjustments. Now, we are busily rescheduling those appointments. We’re not like a hairdressing salon that can just move appointments on, so we’ve been going through our patients’ treatment cards to ensure that we see first those who need urgent treatment.
Take a ‘teeth selfie’
It would be nice if we could wave a magic wand and catch up with 1,000-plus patients in an instant. But we can’t. So, we’re asking our patients to take, what we call, a ‘teeth selfie’ before booking an appointment. Doing so, will help us work through the backlog faster.
Onwards & upwards!
It’s great to be back doing what we do with more certainty about the future. And, now that we’re back in business, we’re working hard to get through our backlog of patients to ensure they receive the treatment that they need.
Let’s all stick to the level-2 guidelines so that we can return to the world we knew before COVID-19 appeared as soon as possible. Remember those days? They seem so long ago.
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