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Dental treatment and COVID-19 - what you need to know

Current as at 6/08/20

We’re open with strict safety measures and ready to support you with your dental care needs.

We want to assure you that our priority remains the safety and well-being of people - our patients, our people and the community. To help keep you safe and minimise any risk of exposure within the practice, we continue to implement a number of standard and COVID-19 specific measures in line with Government and health authority advice. Patients may be asked pre-screening questions when we confirm your booking to determine if there is any risk. See below for some additional restrictions applicable to Victorian practices.

If you have an enquiry (or a sore tooth!) please call your local practice.

Can I still go to the dentist in Australia and New Zealand?

There are some restrictions applicable to Victorian practices. See below for more details. In all other areas, yes you can visit the dentist. Please ensure you are healthy and not isolating, either with COVID-19 or as a close contact of someone with COVID-19. We’re open with strict safety measures and able to take appointments for all your dental care needs, whether a preventive dental check-up, or treatment that you were mid-way through or would like to commence. Patients may be asked pre-screening questions when booking their treatment to determine if there is any risk.

If you have a question or concern about your dental care, please call your local practice.

What about visiting the dentist in Metro Melbourne or Mitchell Shire areas?

In line with the latest clinical and regulatory advice to the dental profession, and to help reduce the spread of COVID-19, we are required to postpone all non-urgent routine dental treatment during the lock down period.

Our dental practitioners will continue to play a vital role in safely treating and caring for patients who have urgent and essential dental needs, as well as managing those in pain and dental emergencies.

When arriving at your appointment and while in the waiting area, please make sure you wear your face mask covering. In line with the Government’s new requirement for people to wear face masks or face coverings, we will not be able to let anyone into our practice who isn’t wearing one. Please be assured dentists continue to have strict measures in place to protect your health and safety. Patients may be asked pre-screening questions when confirming your booking to determine if there is any risk.

What safety measures do dental practices have in place?

We want to assure you that the priority for all practices across our network remains the safety and well-being of people - our patients, our people and the community. In line with this commitment, our practices are continuing to implement a number of standard and COVID-19 specific measures to help minimise any risk of exposure within each practice.

These include:

  • Our team members staying home if they have been in contact with a confirmed or suspected case of COVID-19 or are feeling unwell;
  • Standard infection control procedures to reduce the spread of any infection;
  • The use of personal protective equipment (PPE) for all treatments such as standard level 2 surgical masks, protective eyewear, gloves and appropriate protective outerwear;
  • Strengthened cleaning procedures, including actively promoting the regular use of antibacterial hand sanitiser and surface wipes;
  • Stringent personal hygiene measures for our people;
  • Requesting patients reschedule their appointment if they have been in contact with someone confirmed or suspected to have COVID-19, have travelled internationally in the last 14 days, or are or have recently been unwell, including experiencing any flu-like symptoms;
  • Touch free temperature checks for our patients; and
  • Scheduling and managing patients to limit the time they will spend in a common area and unnecessary contact with others.
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What do I do if I have a dental emergency?

You can see a dentist if you have a dental emergency. In fact, dentists can now provide all dental treatments to patients, so we’re open and ready to support you with all your dental care needs.

A dental emergency is a situation that requires immediate treatment. It may involve conditions that cause severe pain, infection or directly affect your health. Dental emergencies can include:

  • Swelling affecting your mouth, face and/or neck;
  • Difficulty opening your mouth, swallowing or breathing (unrelated to COVID-19);
  • Damage to your mouth or jaw following an accident or injury causing loss of a tooth or teeth being moved from their original position in the mouth;
  • Severe dental pain that is affecting your sleep and/or does not subside with use of pain-relief medications;
  • Tooth fracture where the nerve inside the tooth becomes exposed (which may or may not include bleeding);
  • Ulcers present in the mouth for 3 weeks or longer;
  • Wire or bracket fractures in orthodontic patients;
  • Uncontrolled bleeding post-oral surgery;
  • Patients referred by a doctor for medically necessary dental care or for urgent dental care prior to surgery that cannot be delayed; and
  • Treatment of a dental condition that can directly affect your health, for example, remove of an oral cancer lesion from inside the mouth.

If you have a dental emergency, please call your local practice.

I have braces – what should I do?

Our practices are seeing patients for their usual orthodontic check-ups. Please call your local practice to book in.

Remember to keep good oral hygiene by brushing three times a day and regular flossing. And remember not to eat ‘forbidden foods’, as this will help avoid any breakage.

If you wear elastics, please continue to do so as directed. Your braces will continue to straighten your teeth all day and night. And proper elastic wear will continue to correct your bite.

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I have Invisalign – what should I do?

Our practices are once again seeing patients for their usual Invisalign appointments, and will be able to do digital scans for new aligners.

Some other useful tips about Invisalign include:

  • Remember to keep wearing your active aligners, as instructed.
  • Use your chewies, and bite and hold to seat the aligners in areas where you may see visible space between your tooth and the aligner.
  • Bite into your chewie for 10 seconds and work it around your teeth, lightly biting, holding for a 10-minute session.
  • If you no longer have aligners to continue to your next week, reduce your last aligner wear to a retainer phase of 10-12 hours per day to ensure that your teeth stay in position and make your aligner last longer.
  • Keep your aligners clean and avoid all drinks other than water while wearing them.
  • Remember to wash your hands before placing and removing your aligners or elastics.

If you have a question or concern about Invisalign, please call your local practice.

I was meant to be getting a crown – what should I do?

Our practices are able to provide crown and bridge treatments.

Please call your local practice to make an appointment.

What can I do at home to look after my teeth?

We’re glad you asked! Here are seven tips for good oral hygiene:

  1. Be sure to brush at least twice per day, using a gentle, circular motion. If you’ve just eaten, wait 30 minutes to brush, since highly acidic or starchy food can soften your enamel. Don’t forget to brush your tongue - bacteria love to accumulate here.
  2. Remove plaque by flossing at least once a day. Gently move the floss up and down the sides of each tooth, as well as around the gum line.
  3. After brushing and flossing, rinse with water. You can also use antibacterial or fluoride mouthwash (avoid giving fluoride rinses to children younger than six). Since different people can benefit from different rinses, speak with your dentist about which product is best for you.
  4. Replace your toothbrush every three to four months, or when you see the brush head is worn and bristly.
  5. Avoid snacking on sugary or acidic foods.
  6. Swap sugary beverages like juice or fizzy drinks for tap water.
  7. Chew sugar-free gum, which can stimulate saliva production. Saliva is one of your mouth’s best natural defences against bacteria and plaque!
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