We're now returning to (almost) normal.
UPDATE April 23rd:
The availability of dental treatment has now largely returned to normal. We employ a range of measures to keep the practice environment as Covid-safe as we possibly can in accordance with national guidelines. One of the consequences of the guidelines is that the hygienists are restricted in the use of their ultrasonic scalers, but they can do almost as thorough a job with hand instruments. Other measures required include extra PPE, perspex screens and 'fallow time' between patients following certain treatments. In addition we are all now vaccinated against coronavirus.
We stopped providing routine examinations during the period when coronavirus was at its highest levels and this has allowed us to clear some of our backlog but both hygienists and dentists at the Practice are very busy with a considerable wait for non-urgent care. We are working to catch up on those missed examinations and hygienist visits, but it may be some months before we're fully back to normal with these.
Please understand that many routine dental treatments release a fine mist into the surgery air from the mouth (aerosol generating procedures - AGPs) and these, if virus-laden, are a risk to us and potentially to subsequent patients as well. The Faculty of General Dental Practitioner's advice means that we can only provide these AGP treatments with significantly enhanced levels of PPE. In addition, each surgery must be left for a prolonged period after treatment for the virus to 'settle' before being used again, and we have to clean it even more thoroughly than we always did before.
We'd love to be rid of all the extra precautions but that won't be happening for quite some time. The return to 'normal' dental care is coming closer so watch this space!