COVID-19 and Dental Practices: Reducing Fallow Time Between Patients

Dentistry in the United Kingdom is classified as being a high risk for transmission of COVID-19. With an estimated 36.4 million dental patients in the UK treated every year, it is vital that you are able to protect your staff and patients. Get the most out of your dental practice with the world-class solutions and services from Total Clean Air; guaranteed to help you thrive in a post-coronavirus lockdown environment.

What Is Fallow Time in Dentistry & How Does COVID-19 Affect It?

The Faculty of General Dental Practice UK and the College of General Dentistry have adopted the shorter fallow times for dental procedures that were recommended by the Scottish Dental Clinical Effectiveness Programme.

New guidance from the UK’s Chief dental officers have reduced the baseline fallow time of 30 minutes where there are one to five air changes per hour (ACH) or the number is unknown.

Where there are six to nine ACH, it recommends a baseline fallow time of 20 minutes. Where there are 10 or more ACH, a baseline fallow time of 15 minutes is recommended. A high fallow time has a severe financial effect on dental clinics, as it greatly limits the number of patient’s dentists can attend to.

COVID-19 Guidance and Standard Operating Procedure for Dentists

The following guidelines will help your practice reflect up-to-date recommendations aimed at preventing coronavirus and other infections and improving care.

1. Remote risk assessment and triage first

Identify high-risk patients before they get to the dental office.

2. Get patient to complete a questionnaire of COVID-19 history

To complete a dental visit, a patient will need to complete the COVID-19 questionnaire.

3. Arrange appointments

Plan appointments for patients, including setting up rooms in advance. Arrange follow-up appointments for patients who are not able to attend their scheduled appointment.

4. Require patients to wash/disinfect their hands-on arrival

Patients must be asked to wash their hands with soap and warm running water immediately on arrival, and this must be meticulously supervised. Any cuts on the hands should be covered by disposable gloves.

5. Have patients’ temperature taken

It is  advisable to have patients’ temperature taken and recorded before placing a needle or tray in the mouth.

6. Mandate staff to wear PPE

PPE includes full face masks, disposable surgical helmets, eye protection equipment and mouthpiece for dental staff.

7. Adjust waiting rooms to adhere to social distancing policy

The goal is to make the waiting room areas as free from potential infection as possible by eliminating or reducing contacts with patients, staff or other people not directly involved with treatment.

Instruct your staff to not stand directly next to patients or clients when speaking to them.  Remove furniture from large waiting areas and provide clear pathways for movement between patients.

8. Alter appointment timings to allow for social distancing and treatment room preparation

During this outbreak, schedule your appointments to allow a few people in at a time.

9. Disinfect/purify treatment rooms after every appointment

Dental Practices are required to carry out cleaning and disinfection of every treatment room after every patient session. An antibacterial surface cleanser, used as directed in conjunction with a mechanical device for effective cleaning is a suitable solution for the decontamination of non-critical equipment (e.g., stools, chairs, tables) and the floor in treatment rooms.

10. Request patients to wash/sanitise their hands before leaving the clinic

Establish an exit hand hygiene procedure and display reminders on the clinic walls. Provide hand sanitiser. Educate your patients that they should wash their hands with soap or antiseptic and water immediately after leaving the dental clinic.

11. Accompanying persons should not be allowed to enter the clinic unless absolutely necessary

Make sure your patient is the only person who enters your clinic. Allowing entourage to enter will prevent other patients from entering the clinic space and increase the risk of spreading infections. If accompanying persons enter the clinic, they must adhere to the above guidelines

12. Make special arrangements for high-risk patients

Have special arrangements to ensure that (older people or those with underlying health conditions) can be examined safely. Such patients may, for example, need (elderly-friendly care), special patient information or specially trained dental assistants.

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Can Fallow Time Be Scrapped with Ventilation and Air Filtration Systems?

What if there was a way to dramatically reduce the risk of infections in dental clinics and consequently scrap fallow time? Current guidance stipulates 30 minutes wait time that starts counting immediately after a high-risk aerosol-generating procedure (AGP). However, this applies only to rooms with one to five air changes per hour (ACH) or the number is unknown. Dental clinics can reduce fallow time by conducting a risk assessment, measuring air change rates, and installing air filtration systems.

Measuring Air Change Rates

Air change rate is the hourly rate at which fresh air can enter or leave a room.

It is a measure used in ventilation design to ensure that indoor air quality is maintained and health impacts from pollutants are minimised. Air volume is an important metric to know when auditing a room’s ventilation, but calculating it is no simple task for dental practitioners. The formula for calculating ACH (air changes per hour) is:

  • ACH = CFM x 60 / (Area x Height)
  • CFM stands for Cubic Feet per Hour.

While dentists may be able to answer questions about clinical aspects of a proposed system, they typically lack sufficient information on ventilation or filtration. This is why you need the expertise of ventilation experts such as Total Clean Air to enable you to derive the air volume of your dental practice’s ambient environment.

External Vents Positioning

It is dangerous to vent aerosol with potentially COVID-19 and other infections without proper air filtration.

Generally, ventilation should be arranged to control and remove air contaminated with toxic substances, vapour, or dust before discharging the air outside.

As per HSE COSHH guidance (HSG258 section 220), all potentially hazardous air vented externally must be expelled above the highest point of the roof by use of an appropriate exhaust system.

Aerosol Extraction and Filtration

A virus in aerosol form can remain active up to 48 hours. The purpose of extraction and filtration systems is to remove particulate matter from the air with maximum efficiency and minimum pressure loss in the system.

Total Clean Air Provides Extraction Solution for Dental Aerosols

At Total Clean Air, we supply, install, and maintain air extraction to eliminate aerosols from the dental environment.

Our air extraction system utilises HEPA technology to give you the cleanest, most purified environment possible.

The system is designed to capture all aerosol-generated dust, fumes, smoke, particulate matter and other airborne allergens as small as 0.3 microns from dental offices and other medical facilities prior to exhausting through an HVAC system. The unit offers flexibility in terms of location and ease of use with minimal maintenance.

This fully integrated solution gives you what your practice expects and deserves: outstanding airflow, total clean air and optimal extraction performance.

Features of Our Dental Aerosol Extraction for Dentistry & Orthodontics

Four-stage filtration

The four-stage filtration system provides extraordinary filtration through a HEPA filter, carbon filter, and two-micron filter, providing an outstanding result for dental use. Whether this unit is used in dental, surgical, or other clinical environments, these powerful pressurised systems are for removing particles from the air stream during the procedure.

Powerful, energy-efficient vacuum

The powerful, energy-efficient vacuum with an easy-to-use control panel and lightweight design makes it an ultra-compact tool that helps patients breathe comfortably while complying with safety standards.

Flexible Extraction Arm

The powerful and flexible extraction arm allows contaminants to be captured at the source by means of an internal pump which is activated when the tool is connected to the aerosol extraction system.

Lightweight and easy to move

Our dental aerosol extraction system is designed to be lightweight and easy to move from room to room. The base unit allows for greater mobility. The user-friendly controls make operating simple.

Quiet Operation

Our dental aerosol extraction system offers quiet operation and easy adjustment of gentle airstream for optimal patient comfort. This unit is provided with the necessary attachment set for dental or orthodontic application.

Clever Design

The design enables 18% better airflow and 15% higher suction than other aerosol extraction systems on the market.

Benefits of Our Dental Aerosol Extraction System

Maximises the extraction of dental aerosols

This innovative system maximises the extraction of dental aerosols in a way that would not happen with conventional air systems. The benefits are a significantly improved vacuuming sequence, better drying in the preparation area, and the ability to control the airflow in your environment.

Meet the most stringent clean air standards

Our dental aerosol extraction unit is specially designed to minimise the risk of cross-contamination and meets the most stringent clean air standards in the dental industry.

Minimise the risk from dental aerosols

The system is designed to reduce the risk associated with microbiological contamination of the air in the operating theatre during dental aerosol extraction.

Ensures the protection of healthcare staff and patients

Our air extraction system provides safe and effective removal of aerosol from the operating room while minimising the exposure of the dental team to bacteria from a planar source. Now all dental professionals can offer patients total clean air for dental hygiene procedures.

Cost-effective

The system offers an affordable and complete solution to dental aerosol risk management. Our solution delivers the same high performance as a traditional hygienist’s portable extraction system, at a fraction of the price. This streamlining of your workflow will result in less time spent on extractions, and you will enjoy increased productivity while freeing up resources to focus on higher-value work.

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Why Choose Us?

Leading-Edge, Highly-Quality Products

Total Clean Air helps you create a healthier, more comfortable environment by creating better indoor air quality through innovative and high-quality equipment.

Expertise and Experience

With over an XXX-year of expertise in design, supply, and installation of ventilation and air filtration equipment, we are able to deliver state-of-the-art products meeting the highest standards of our international community of dental professionals. Our systems are developed by clinicians, designed for simplicity and performance, affordable to use and backed with unrivalled customer service.

National Coverage

People that choose Total Clean Air systems are looking for clean, safe indoor air quality – no matter where they live. With national coverage throughout the United Kingdom, we have the largest service network available. You will enjoy peace of mind when you know you can count on service regardless of where your home is located!

Consistent Research

For more than XXX years, we have been studying the intricacies of air purification. Research and development are constant in our corporate culture. It drives us to create new technologies that give you great performance, easy operation and healthier indoor air quality.

Competitive Prices

We guarantee fair and affordable prices on air extraction and filtration systems in the UK. Our prices are all-inclusive. We provide live customer service and accept most major credit cards and checks.

Ongoing Support

With Total Clean Air, you can count on ongoing support. You get access to our unlimited 24/7 tech team who provides remote diagnostics and assistance when needed, along with our award-winning support portal and self-help tools. Choose Total Clean Air for your dental practice solutions and get the help you want that ensures your equipment is working as hard as possible to keep the air clean.

Case Studies

Discover how Total Clean Air solutions are saving money and lives around the UK. Healthcare facilities and dental practices all benefit from simple, effective air purification. Check out these simple case studies to see how some of the most advanced dental environments rely on our solutions to keep their facilities clean, safe, and healthy.

Contact Us

Over the years, we have built a comprehensive network of services designed to offer a wide range of solutions for extraction systems for the dental, medical and welding industries.

Whether you are operating in London or Glasgow, there is no job that is too big or too complex for our dedicated team to handle. With Total Clean Air, we can give you personalised service to ensure that your clinic is clean and safe. Contact us today to see how we can assist you. Call 01737 924 700.

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Contact us today and find out how we can best serve you on your next project.

FAQs

Should I screen staff for COVID-19?
Yes. Screening employees for respiratory symptoms can be a reasonable ‘next step’ in the management of people with confirmed exposure. However, screening is unlikely to be cost-effective given the mild nature of symptoms.
How can I protect my dental equipment and accessories from cross-contamination?
To prevent cross-contamination of devices that could pass on air-borne viruses, dental equipment and accessories must be thoroughly cleaned and disinfected.
Should dental practices screen patients before attending the appointment?
Yes, they should screen the patient before attending the appointment. However, it should be based on their COVID-19 history.
Are there any concerns with using air conditioning?
Yes. Please keep in mind that some air conditioning systems can spread a virus.
What does aerosol mean?
Aerosol means a suspension of exceedingly small particles or droplets of liquids in a gas. In the context of coronavirus, aerosols are droplets that have been directly expelled from the coughs and sneezes of infected people. They transmit infection mainly by small droplets 0.5-5 micrometres (1/100th– to 1/10th of a millimetre) in diameter, which stay suspended in the air for long periods of time and may travel large distances depending on the environmental conditions.
What dental procedures cause aerosols?
Here is a list of the most common dental procedures that cause aerosol formation: 1. Air Abrasion: This procedure rubs the hard tissue surface to remove the outer layer of one’s teeth. The debris created in this process can be inhaled through inhalation. 2. Air Polishing: It removes surface debris and polishes one’s teeth, usually after whitening treatments or bleaching sessions.

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Contact us today and find out how we can best serve you on your next project.

Phillip Godden

Phillip Godden is the Founder & Chief/Executive Officer at Total Clean Air.

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