Now that New Zealand has moved into level 2, we’re pleased to announce that Turner Lim Orthodontists is back in business. And, we have a heap of work to do.
A welcome relief
On Monday the 11th of May, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced that New Zealand would begin a move to alert level 2. However, it wasn’t until the night of her announcement that the Dental Council confirmed that dental professionals can still perform aerosol generating procedures (AGP). The news came as a big relief because without AGPs, we would have to make major changes to how we perform many of our procedures, like bonding and removing brackets.
Regardless of the Dental Council’s announcement, we are still extremely mindful of aerosol. Consequently, we now carry out work that requires AGPs in a separate room to reduce the possibility of spreading germs.
Before you visit our clinic, please let us know if something is broken. If you don’t, we may not be able to see you because the room for fixing appliances may already be in use.
Compared to life before lockdown, we have, not surprisingly, changed some of our procedures. For example, to allow our staff more time to change PPE and clean equipment, we have slowed things down a bit. Of course, hygiene has always been a top priority for us, but post lockdown, we are super vigilant. We are also required to wear some different items of PPE. Our staff have always worn scrubs. However, instead of tunics over their everyday clothes, Drs Fiona Turner and Donna Lim now also wear scrubs, as well as a face shield (like a visor), instead of the usual mask.
We are also limiting the number of short appointments. We’re doing this to prevent having too many patients moving through our clinic all at once. Hence, we are asking some patients to wait in their cars until we notify them that we are ready to see them.
First things first
Right now, we’re prioritising emergency procedures, like fixing broken bracket and sticking-out wires. Prior to lockdown, we had bookings for around 1,000 readjustments. Now, we are busily rescheduling those appointments. We’re not like a hairdressing salon that can just move appointments on, so we’ve been going through our patients’ treatment cards to ensure that we see first those who need urgent treatment.
Take a ‘teeth selfie’
It would be nice if we could wave a magic wand and catch up with 1,000-plus patients in an instant. But we can’t. So, we’re asking our patients to take, what we call, a ‘teeth selfie’ before booking an appointment. Doing so, will help us work through the backlog faster.
Onwards & upwards!
It’s great to be back doing what we do with more certainty about the future. And, now that we’re back in business, we’re working hard to get through our backlog of patients to ensure they receive the treatment that they need.
Let’s all stick to the level-2 guidelines so that we can return to the world we knew before COVID-19 appeared as soon as possible. Remember those days? They seem so long ago.
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Right now, the world is in a panic over COVID-19, otherwise known as Coronavirus. At this stage, nobody knows how dangerous the new virus is — that depends on how easily it spreads and the proportion of people infected that become seriously ill. In the meantime, there are steps you can take to stay safe.
What is COVID-19?
Caused by a type of Coronavirus, COVID-19 can affect your lungs and airways.
The symptoms are similar to that of a cold or flu and include:
- Shortness of breath
- A cough
- A high temperature (at least 38 °C)
Although no one is certain, the World Health Organisation suggests that it can take 2 – 10 days for an affected person’s symptoms to show.
What precautions do we take?
At Turner Lim Orthodontists, we take hygiene and the threat of Coronavirus very seriously. Hand sanitiser is available at our front desk for all patients, and we sterilise or dispose of all equipment and instruments used to treat each patient. All staff wear scrubs, not street clothing, and Drs Donna Lim and Fiona Turner put on tunics over their clothes. We also wear eye protection and face masks, the latter we change regularly.
What can you do to stay safe?
Good hygiene is essential, so here are three practices to take on board:
Wash your hands
Make sure you wash your hands regularly with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. A useful way to make sure you spend enough time washing your hands is to sing Happy Birthday while doing so. Also, don’t forget to clean between your fingers. Washing your hands is particularly important if you’ve been out in public or have coughed, sneezed or blown your nose.
Cough into your elbow
If you need to sneeze, cover your mouth and nose with a tissue (not a handkerchief) and put it in the bin. Whatever you do, DON’T sneeze into your hands. Instead, use the inside of your elbow. Why? Well, according to experts, when you sneeze into your hands, there is a good chance that you will pass on germs to people you come into contact with or contaminate objects that you touch. The Coronavirus may survive on hard surfaces up to 48 hours and around half that time on fabrics and soft surfaces.
Avoid touching your face
On average, people touch their faces about 23 times an hour. That’s a habit we should all try to break. Why? Well, it’s easy for germs to enter your body through your eyes and mouth. So, as hard as it may be, try not to touch your face unless you have just washed your hands.
What if you have symptoms?
If you are feeling unwell and think that you might have Coronavirus, don’t panic. Call Healthline’s dedicated COVID-19 number 0200 358 5453 or get in touch with your doctor — phone ahead of your visit. Also. visit the Ministry of Health website for latest updates.