The following are the steps recommended by the South African Dental Association to be followed by patients prior to visiting their Dentist during this Covid-19 pandemic era: Before you visit the dentist, we ask that you follow these procedures to ensure your safety and the safety of your dentist and those around you.
- Please wear a new or freshly washed cloth mask, at a minimum, when visiting the Oral health care facility. Only the patient will be allowed in the OHC facility unless the patient is a minor or disabled. If the Oral health care facility is behind schedule, patients must wait outside the office or in their cars. Please contact the OHC facility before you leave home to prevent an unnecessary long wait.
- Please do not wear any non-essential accessories, jewellery, etc. as it can be contaminated. Essential items such as cell phones will be secured in a safe place at entry.
- Please be on time. Patients arriving earlier than 10 minutes prior to their appointments will not be admitted into the premises. Patients arriving late will need to be rescheduled. Most OHC facilities in South Africa have safety doors to the entrance; you may be asked to use this entrance for proper distancing. Vigilance should not be relaxed.
- OHC facilities operating with walk-in patients only should adhere to the above rules. Waiting patients should be asked to line up outside the door, keeping social distancing in mind. These distances should be clearly marked in the expected lineup area. In adverse weather conditions, local situations should be evaluated with informed knowledge to protect the patients against the weather yet allowing for social distancing.
- Please fill in all paperwork electronically or at home. For older adults or those who are digitally challenged, please contact the dentist’s receptionist by phone to complete your paperwork ahead of time. This could also be done by a properly protected and informed staff member in the waiting area outside the facility.
- Make arrangements for the method of payment. Be aware that cash could be a potential source of the SARS-CoV-2 virus.
- Dental personnel adhere to the same strict principles as patients. Staff at high risk or with comorbidities will be reassigned to positions that do not put them, and you, at additional risk.
- Dental staff have to be directed to receive flu vaccinations to prevent infection and keep their practice open.