Well…we are back for you. 
To ensure an absolutely robust service things will be different. The practice will appear a little bare. There are contactless hand gel dispensers, sneeze guards, social distancing measures and everything you would want to ensure you don’t come into contact with others. There will a minimum number of people in the building at one time. 
In the surgery you will notice staff in different types of PPE depending on what care you need. We might be hidden behind visors but we are the same friendly lot! 
All patients will be screened by remote telephone or video calls. We are all here to care for you so if you find anything strange or you don’t understand….just say. 
Its good to see you again! 
Best wishes 
FFP3 mask face fit testing was undertaken by our team at the practice today. Thank you to Michael from Essential Site Skills (ESS) who provided the fit testing for us. ESS undertook face fit testing for staff at the Nightingale hospital in London at the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. 
Our team will be using FFP3 masks which are the gold standard, providing maximum protection for patients and staff. 
Don't worry, we wont be wearing the hoods shown in the pictures 🙂 thankfully they are worn for fit testing purposes only. 
We will all look a little different, like the diagram here shows, but underneath are the same smiling faces of the team you know. 
See you very soon now 
As a mum of three, who for years has happily juggled the work life balance, it hit me hard when our dental practice had to pause suddenly during the pandemic. I was suddenly propelled into an uncertain world of homeschooling combined with never ending household duties! Even though I have embraced the challenge, with no end in sight, I find myself longing for normality. The day when I can take my children to school, hug my parents, eat cake with my work friends (not too much!) and chat with patients about the latest dental gadgets and gizmos or advise the right colour “Tepe” brush. 
I seriously miss the normality of everyday life before Coronavirus hit. 
I try to maintain perspective. One day this will all be over and normality will return for all of us. The most important thing is for us all to stay safe and healthy. 
Mealtime Chaos 
As parents, it’s so difficult to maintain a “normal” routine to the day. Grazing seems to take over and kids seem to want to continually raid the chocolate drawer! Snacks don’t however have to be the enemy! 
Smart snacking 
Snacks can give all important energy boosts that children need for their growing minds and bodies. Healthy choices include: 
• Whole grain bread and crackers 
• Cheese 
• Veggie sticks 
• Hard boiled eggs 
• Fruits are healthy but contain naturally occurring fruit acids that can damage precious tooth enamel. It’s best to keep fruit to meal times. 
Check the labels! 
Foods such as tomato ketchup, baked beans, fruity yoghurt and granola bars may appear healthy choices but are high in sugars. Hidden sugars with names such as dextrose, fructose and corn syrup can be found in many foods so it’s always a good idea to check the label. 
Staying hydrated 
Unflavoured and still water and plain unsweetened milk are the only safe drinks for kids’ teeth between meals. Fizzy drinks and juice are ok to have occasionally with meals. 
Brush brush brush! 
Twice a day brushing with a fluoride toothpaste is so important. Help your children until they are about 7. Keep on supervising them at every brush time so that they can’t tell you little white lies about brushing them “really well” when you know that their toothbrush is going to be as dry as a bone when you check it! A manual small headed toothbrush is fine as long as it is changed every 3 months or when the bristles start to splay. Lots of different electric brushes are available for children which can be a good incentive! 
Well I hope this has been of some value to you. It’s time for me to depart as I’ve just been called to help my youngest with his Mount Fuji project. (Wish me luck.) You are all doing amazingly! 
Thinking of you all and hope to see you all very soon. 🤞 
We are all adapting to our new way of life and work. I thought it would be nice to get in touch and share some of the things our practice is doing to prepare for when the government allows business to resume. 
At present, face to face dental treatments are limited to acute care. However, in the coming weeks and months this will change and we will get back to what is being penned as a “new normal”. 
This will apply to our practice, our team and of course you, our patients, as much as for anyone else. 
There is a flow of guidance from bodies such as The Department for Health and Social Care, Public Health England, the British Dental Association and our governing bodies to develop how this new normal will work for all of us. 
We have regular Zoom meetings to discuss and plan. We are putting into place the right dental equipment and personal protective equipment required to keep all of our patients and the dental team safe. We are looking at what the new patient journey will be like, scheduling of appointments to ensure social distancing, adapting our practice environment, and refreshing and updating our training to meet new guidance as it emerges. 
As a practice we have always put clinical governance and the care of our patients at the centre of everything we do. Our most recent Care Quality Commission inspection report and Denplan Excel Accreditation are testament to that, and the professional high standards adopted by all of our team. 
But the thing I am most proud of is that I know everyone single one of our team really cares; about each other, about what we do, and most especially about all of our patients. I feel very blessed to work alongside such a great, fun, hard-working, loyal and caring bunch of people. And that’s why I know that once allowed to do so, we will be all be excited to welcome you back through our doors in a stronger position than ever. 
In the meantime you can contact me directly by email patients@dental-clinic.co.uk if there is anything I can help with. And if you need to speak to Anita or Christopher about any dental problems, please telephone our practice number during normal practice hours on 01246 230230 and you will be directed to the number where you can chat with them. 
Looking forward to seeing you as soon as I can. 
.As we enter week seven of lockdown there has been plenty of time to contemplate how different life is at the moment and it’s difficult not to worry about the future. There is much speculation on the television and social media, the uncertainty can be overwhelming especially if like me you find it difficult to detach from your device. 
Whilst as professionals we are working hard to put plans in place for our return to work, on a personal level, for me anyway, it’s each day at a time. And in the words of Captain/Colonel Tom “tomorrow will be a good day”. What an amazing and inspirational man he is, it’s been so uplifting watching him on the news last week. 
Last week was a good week. Sadly, not so good for the dandelions on my lawn. I was shamed into killing them even though they did me no wrong. I love yellow flowers, however the pressure became unbearable as I looked around at the perfectly manicured lawns around be. I even borrowed an edging tool and used it! The lawn looks shockingly bad at the moment but it will return to health very soon, I hope! 
I have painted the conservatory. Yes, I know it’s mainly glass, however it took me three days to finish it. I’m slightly ashamed to say I’ve never actually picked up a paintbrush before and the likelihood is I probably won’t again! 
The rest of the week has been interspersed with my new found love of webinars…..at a cursory glance I thought it said wine bars which drew my attention, I have realised just like wine bars they can help while away a good few hours but that’s where the similarities end. 
The majority I have watched have been focused on dental issues during the pandemic, others on techniques used in dental procedures, the one that caught my eye was presented by Ruby Wax specifically for the dental team. Many of you will know Ruby Wax as an American actress, comedienne, and author. However, in 2013 she gained a masters degree in mindfulness-based cognitive therapy. 
I found it interesting and having read a little about mindfulness in the past it has made me want to learn more. 
Mindfulness and cognitive behaviour therapy have been used as personal coping strategies for anxious dental patients for some time. Whilst I dont claim to have a deep understanding of this type of therapy, I do know simple techniques can help anxious patients cope with dental treatment. 
Anxiety is a type of fear usually associated with the thought of a threat or something going wrong in the future, but can also arise from something happening right now. This can be related to the Coronavirus pandemic or maybe a visit to the dentist. Over 50% of adults in the UK have fear of going to the dentist and between 12 and 27% are highly anxious. 
During my entire career I have been treating some of the most anxious dental patients with techniques such as inhalation or intravenous sedation, but not all patients need this. Some just need some TLC and a bit of time. 
Most anxious patients are almost forced to seek dental care when they start to experience pain that they cannot control with pain killers, which leads to a sleepless night which ultimately leads to increased anxiety. 
What are you afraid of? 
Hopefully not me! In our practice we dentists are kind and want to look after you. Don’t listen to the horror stories other people tell you, they are often embellished or have a basis in movies not reality. Modern dentistry should be pain free. 
Determine what makes you anxious, is it the drill, the noises, the water, the needle…If you discuss the fears you have then there maybe techniques or treatment options which can avoid them, or you maybe able to work out a coping strategy to help you deal with the fears. Simple things such as agreeing a sign with your dentist to signal that you need a break and want to stop, can help alleviate anxiety as it allows you to gain some control over the situation. 
Start slowly 
If it has been a while since you have been to the dentist it maybe a good idea to start with a simple check up, moving onto treatment such as a scale and polish, to help build up your confidence. Try and choose an early appointment time so you don’t have time to dwell on it all day. Attending regularly will also help as you will build a relationship up with dental team, you may then feel able to cope with more complex treatment. 
Bring a friend 
Normally we would be encouraging if you wanted to bring a friend or relative for some moral support, however during this pandemic we would need to consider whether it is appropriate. Speak to the team and discuss it. 
When it comes to taking your mind off treatment, distraction is a great tool. We find patients like to wear headphones and listen to their own music, a podcast, anything that helps to relax them. Using a stress ball is another good distraction, and if you simply want your hand holding we can do that too. 
I have been providing dental treatment with the use of sedation for 25 years. We have a highly skilled team at the practice and we pride ourselves in providing excellent quality care, if you feel this is an option for you it can be discussed at a consultation appointment. There is more information on our website www.dental-clinic.co.uk 
Counselling and CBT 
It may be that none of the options above are the right ones for you. Counselling and/or cognitive behavioural therapy may help you get past your fears and anxiety, and a GP referral may be advisable. 
Finally meditation, mindfulness and calming breathing exercises can work wonders, not only in the dental chair but in this strange world we are living in at the moment. 
Some links I found useful for mindfulness and looking after your mental health during the pandemic are listed below. 
Thank you for reading. 
Spring is such a beautiful time of year, my favourite season. The wild garlic and bluebells amongst the trees help me with my mindfulness. I hope you are all keeping your minds healthy and managing to find some peace. 
Stay safe, stay smiling. 
We are all trying to stay as healthy as possible at this time, and drinking enough water throughout the day is important for our bodies and also for our teeth. It also sets a really good example to the younger ones in our families, encouraging them to stay away from fizzy and sugary drinks which can be very harmful. 
As we have been in lockdown for some time I wanted to contact you personally on behalf of all of us at the practice. 
As a close team we continue to care for everyone within the government guidelines so please if you need us we are here: 
W: www.dental-clinic.co.uk 
E: patients@dental-clinic.co.uk 
T: 01246 230 230 
It’s not just the care of your mouth we all miss but we all miss talking to you and hearing about your life. 
I am thinking mostly of those of you living alone or isolating and if you feel lonely and find it hard to cope please reach out on our on call number. o drop us a line by email. One of us will be happy to chat…..we aren’t mental health professionals but we are a kindly voice. 
When this cloud passes we will look forward to serving you as before and our team is undertaking academic and professional development to make us the best we can for you. 
With every best wish from the whole team 
As I finish the last hot cross bun and recycle the empty chocolate egg boxes, there is a silent promise to myself to be good, eat less, exercise more and all that! I know my neighbours are the same, we have started a WhatsApp group chat to try and encourage each other. If we are straying or losing motivation someone is there to help with either words of encouragement or words to diminish that bit of guilt. Amongst all that is going on with this pandemic, it’s lovely how people have come together to support each other in so many different ways. 
I have enrolled for the NHS volunteer responders so am looking forward to helping out whenever I can, it may be a telephone chat to someone who is feeling lonely and isolated, it may be delivering shopping or medication, I will wait and see and let you know how I get on. 
Hopefully you have had a lovely Easter, we were lucky enough to have some nice weather so I enjoyed doing some jobs in the garden and plenty of relaxing. I must say though, I am missing the loved ones I can’t see, it seems like such a long time ago that I saw most of them. 
However, I am learning to get on with it like millions of people out there. I know that during these last few weeks having some kind of routine some really helps me. I’m in danger of boring you now, but here goes….. 
I tend to get up early and go for a run (it’s definitely less than the hour I’m permitted because I’m not that fit yet), get home and showered, I don’t really do breakfast, so just a cuppa, catch up on emails and watch the news. 
Most days at midday Christopher, Denise and I have a video meeting to discuss work related topics. We share the latest news or developments in the dental world, especially those related to the pandemic and the best way we can provide an ongoing service for our patients. Changes are happening on a daily basis so it’s good to discuss these as a team and share what we have learnt through webinars and reading the latest guidance. 
I know the rest of the staff are working on their own continuing professional development and that is giving them a great deal of focus. We will all be armed with the latest knowledge when we return to the workplace. In the meantime, we are all working away behind the scenes. 
My afternoon may be a little more work based and then I start thinking about food! And what will I cook that evening? I have been enjoying cooking more and more and luckily having two sons in lockdown has meant the food is gratefully received. I am, however, trying to avoid baking sweet treats for obvious reasons, come on, I am a dentist! 
And this moves me nicely onto some diet advise! 
Many of us will have had changes in our routine and are spending more time at home. It’s much easier to keep snacking and reaching for sweet treats, and I know I have to work hard at stopping myself and my boys from doing. From an oral health point of view, sticking to eating at meal times will certainly lower your risk of tooth decay as you won’t constantly be changing the acid levels in your mouth. I understand many of you may prefer to have smaller more frequent meals. This is fine, however, it’s wise to try and consume the sugary foods in maybe one or two meals rather than space these out throughout the day. It’s all about reducing the frequency of acid attack on your teeth which will lower your risk of tooth decay. 
For those of you who suffer from a dry mouth due to a health condition or certain medications, it is particularly important to reduce your sugar intake. Having a reduced salivary flow means you are less likely to neutralise the acids that cause tooth decay. Taking regular sips of water can benefit you as well as having excellent oral hygiene and using a fluoride toothpaste. After brushing remember to spit out excess toothpaste but don’t rinse with water as the fluoride in the toothpaste will help protect your teeth. 
Even if you don’t have a dry mouth, the following advise applies: 
Between meals try and avoid fizzy drinks and fruit juices. Diluted sugar free drinks are not completely safe and if you do drink them make sure you dilute them one part fruit drink to 10 parts water. 
Sugar free chewing gum is a good way to stimulate saliva and neutralise acids in the mouth after eating. 
I think the link below is quite useful if you want to read a little more on the subject. 
Thank you for reading. I do hope you are keeping well and staying safe. We are always here for you. Just email us at patients@dental-clinic.co.uk. We’d love to hear from you, even if it’s to let us know how you are getting on. We really are missing you! 
If you need any urgent advice or care during normal practice hours, Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm, please telephone the practice on 01246 230230 where you will be given the emergency on-call dentist telephone number. It will be either Christopher or I on the other end, we would be happy to give you advice on any problems you may be having, or simply just have a chat. 
Keep safe and keep smiling. 
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