Since the COVID-19 pandemic began, we’ve all been inundated with information and advice on how to stay safe and prevent the spread of coronavirus. Just like everyone else, we at Ringley Park Dental Practice have had to adapt and adjust, so we can adhere to strict professional guidelines which will help keep our patients and staff as safe as possible, while continuing to provide essential dental services.
Now that we have been open for a few weeks we have noticed some talk in the media on the subject of ‘AGPs’ in relation to dentistry. But what exactly is an AGP?
‘AGP’ stands for an ‘Aerosol Generating Procedure’. Until now, most of the general public would be unaware of AGPs, but they are commonly used in dentistry.
The problem with AGPs
AGPs are defined as any medical or patient care procedure that results in the production of airborne particles – known as aerosols. In dentistry these are chiefly generated by high-speed instruments working in the mouth, for example dental drills – known as turbines, mechanised scalers and air tooth polishers.
These instruments remove small pieces from tooth surfaces or from the teeth themselves, which become mixed with water and saliva, along with bacteria and microorganisms found naturally within the oral cavity. Unfortunately, they can also contain viruses, which is a concern regarding the transmission of COVID-19.
Without adequate safety precautions, aerosol sprays can become suspended in the air and inhaled by those close by, or fall as tiny droplets onto nearby surfaces, thereby posing a risk of the spread of infection.
Although this sounds alarming in the current climate, as a dental practice in Surrey we are already highly skilled in infection control procedures and adhere to strict guidance to ensure our patients’ and staff safety at all times. Just some of the safety measure we are taking at Ringley Park Dental Practice include:
- avoiding all AGPs except where strictly necessary
- Using anti-viral solutions in the clean water that runs through our dental equipment helps dilute and kill any virus particles.
- after an AGP treatment has been performed, allowing an appropriate ‘fallow’ time. Fallow time is the time where the empty surgery is left undisturbed for aerosols to settle in the surgery before cleaning can commence and the next appointment is due.
- Investing in ‘virus killer’ air filtration systems in each surgery that can purify 85Cubic feet of air every minute. They filter the air particles in the surgery such as pollen, dust and even virus particles smaller than the Covid 19 virus.
- ensuring each surgery and the communal areas of the practice are fully cleaned and decontaminated between patients
- the wearing of full PPE by our clinical staff
- having doors and windows open where possible to increase ventilation and help the ‘virus killer’ ventilation
- continually screening every patient for their COVID-19 status
Future visits to Ringley Park will look and feel rather different to how things were previously, but we are doing everything possible to make you feel relaxed and reassured.
We want to thank all our patients for their understanding during this difficult time. We look forward to seeing you very soon and thank you in advance for your co-operation.
If you would like further advice on looking after your oral health or that of someone you’re caring for give us a call today on 01737 240123. We will be happy to help.