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Dentist at Large during Covid 19 – Different!

July 20, 2020

It was not very at large at all.  Even when I flew to the Gold Coast for a week’s holiday in late March, trying to be at large, after a day and half, got in the hire car and drove back to Sydney almost non-stop. You see Queensland was thinking of locking down the borders. The day we left, restaurants were closed at midday, and I did not want to go into quarantine for 14 days, or worse, not get into NSW. They may even cancel my return flight.

The situation was changing rapidly then. The surgery went to Level 2 restrictions immediately while I was in Queensland, and Dr Eleni, who covered for me while I was away, and the staff had to implement the precautions. They were amazing. Lots of decisions were made by remote control from sunny Queensland too!

Back in Sydney, still on holidays, lots of phone calls to organise to cope with the financial side of a major downturn in turnover. We also had to source protective garments, masks, gloves, hand sanitisers and of course toilet paper, that were becoming scarce and very expensive. Basically without these basics of dentistry we could not operate. All supplies were becoming difficult to get as other industries were dealing with their own restrictions.

Within three days we went to level 3 restrictions which meant it was getting serious. The way we practiced dentistry changed more dramatically. No aerosols, longer appointments, only urgent cases and social distancing inside and outside of the surgery.

Life changed.

We had to ensure that all staff kept themselves safe from the virus outside of the surgery so they did not jeopardise the surgery itself. It’s a major change in mindset. The virus is indiscriminate. People, even now, with the possibility of a 2nd wave of infections, think they can get away with things by ignoring the protocols. 

No one will know, right? Wrong! The virus does not care what you think; it does what it does to survive. It has shown up areas of complacency and outright abuse and punishes the humans by saying “Thanks for that!”.

Unfortunately, vulnerable people suffer and the economy then continues to suffer too. Remember, people who think it’s just a ‘flu, forget that even if you survive, there can be long term damage to the lungs and other complications. Not good!

So dentist at large was going to work, going home, watching the latest webinars on Zoom on how to handle the constantly changing and sometimes confusing landscape of Covid-19. Then, some freedom of going to the local café for takeaway food and coffee and walking around for exercise, as all team sports were cancelled. No soccer or tennis (maybe only table tennis!)

I still had to keep my education requirements up during all of this, as all meetings in real life were cancelled. It became very innovative. Registering for an international conference and watching it from my office at home. No duty free!

Webinar international conference Covid 19 style

The dental association were working around the clock to keep up with the changes and to advise the government on how the profession were going to meet the restrictions of Covid-19. There were webinars in the evenings after often a stressful day at work to view without falling asleep!

These webinars included advice on every time the restrictions changed, the introduction of various government assistance measures, human resource issues and, of course, on Covid-19 itself.

Australian Dental Association Evening Webinars

We now live in a world of the new normal for now.

Social distancing, screening measures, treatment procedures to suit the Covid-19 status of patients and Zoom with no international travel!

Covid safe

I would like to take this opportunity to thank my staff who continued to work throughout the height of the crisis, keeping the practice and themselves safe. Also to my patients who were very understanding with all the changes in the way we ran the practice and treated them, to keep everyone Covid-19 safe.

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If you’d like to book an appointment with the dentist at Seymour Dental then call us in Dulwich Hill, Sydney on (02) 9564 2397 or
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Next week

Shaping Up Teeth