Laura Edgar shares her top tips on keeping dental practices safe for patients and staff when they reopen

It’s not every day that you get a card from the Queen’s representative. Earlier this month Aura Infection Control’s managing director, Laura Edgar, opened the post to find a handwritten card from Sue Snowden, Her Majesty’s Lord-Lieutenant for County Durham, thanking them for the service and support Aura Infection Control has provided during the COVID-19 crisis.

Rather than furlough the workforce, Laura, and her team of expert decontamination advisors have been manning the phones remotely to advise dental practices on the appropriate measures to take when locking down.

They helped dental teams close their surgeries safely to minimise start-up decontamination issues and they have been busy helping the emergency dental hubs while most surgeries remained closed.

Now they are busier than ever, helping practices prepare to reopen and be as safe as possible for patients and staff.

Aura is the main partner of our Infection Prevention & Control Team awards now taking place in 2021. They have been working closely with the NHS.

Laura says: ‘It was so nice to be recognised in this way. I am immensely proud of our team.

‘Everyone has been playing their part, not just our expert decontamination advisers but our talented purchasing team, who have been sourcing PPE and decontamination products from across the globe. And hats off to our warehouse staff who have been working flat-out to ship orders to the frontline.’

It is a challenging time for dental nurses and decon leads to make sure everything is safe a ready for reopening. We asked Laura for her top tips based on the questions they have been fielding from across the UK. This is what she had to say.

Get your equipment up and running.
Dental Unit waterlines should be sampled and cleaned where necessary. Washer disinfectors and autoclaves need to be cleaned internally and revalidated.

Hand hygiene products, protocols and positions should be reviewed for the new patient flow.
Make sure you have the right products at the right places in your surgery. Be aware of the patients’ journey and plan it out.

Locate and procure your PPE from trusted sources.
PPE is in high demand around the world and stock can come and go very quickly. Sign up for our PPE stock updates to get the inside track. Do not panic buy. Plan what you need and get advice.

Remember environment cleaning.
Carefully consider the products that are normally used to clean your surgery. You will need to re-evaluate them. Most of what is being used will probably be effective against enveloped viruses, but not all. We can help you check what should be used and how it should be used. How products are used is especially important and often overlooked. Some products have different contact times to be effective, and different strengths or concentrations may be needed to be effective in the fight against Covid-19.

Prepare your people.
It is not just giving peace-of-mind to your patients; we need to support our staff too. Utilise professional memberships and support groups as well as mental health training.

Laura added: ‘If in doubt, just give us a call. We are here to help. We know we aren’t frontline workers ourselves, but we are doing our bit to help those who need it the most and everyone at Aura was so touched to be recognised in this way.’

The Covid-19 crisis is a wake-up call to the world about the importance of effective hygiene and infection control.

Nowhere is this more important than in a healthcare setting.

Of course, the dental sector has always practised stringent infection control.Effective and efficient decontamination minimises the risk of cross-infection between patients as well as between patients and staff.

The ability of the industry to get through the crisis relies on helping each other and trusted partnerships.

It is good to know that Aura Infection Control, the UK’s leading supplier of decontamination services and products to the dental industry, is on hand to help.