COVID-19, dentistry and Bambach: a supplier’s view
Seb Bavetta and Elaine Ferguson explains how Bambach and Fortuna Group is helping the dental profession with PPE.
The current pandemic and effects of the lockdown have made the practice of dentistry extremely challenging. This has, in turn, also impacted on dental supply companies. We believe that this will inevitably lead to a consolidation of suppliers of dental products. Those that are most diversified and adaptable will be best placed to succeed as we enter the recovery phase.
Bambach and Fortuna Group
In 2018 Hager & Werken acquired the worldwide rights to the Bambach Saddle Seat. It gave the official UK distribution rights to Fortuna Group London Ltd. Bambach UK is an autonomous division within the group. But it works closely with the other divisions, including Fortuna Healthcare, which is a leading UK supplier of sundry products to the pharmacy sector and Fortuna Mobility, which operates from London’s largest mobility showroom.
The effect of the COVID-19 lockdown has been very different across the Fortuna Group. Activity has fallen sharply in both the dental sector and for specialist healthcare equipment prescribed by OTs and physios. In contrast there has been huge demand for our existing PPE products such as face masks, thermometers and gloves. Our product development team has worked hard to add to the range with face shields, hand sanitisers, gowns and disposable aprons already available and more expected soon.
Our expectations for 2020
Fortunately, the country appears to have passed the peak of the epidemic and we look forward to a gradual return to normal. The need for dental treatment will re-assert itself. However, anxieties around contagion in the confined dental environment will likely slow the recovery.
Dental surgeries will have to follow guidance on social distancing as far as possible and make use of all available equipment options to prevent the spread of the virus. A significant practical effect is a greater need for PPE. Masks will comply with appropriate regulatory standards, see face masks and respirators explained for more information. There will also be a need for greater use of disposable visors, aprons and gowns etc.
By looking at what happens in countries further ‘along the curve’ than the UK, it is possible to discern some likely trends:
- Identification of infected people. In many countries taking people’s temperatures has become widespread. A quick, easy and unobtrusive method is the use of contactless infrared thermometers (CIT) and this is likely to become far more common in future months (although not applicable to the average dental surgery, more sophisticated methods are being developed, including door arches which take a reading as the person walks through and crowd scanners combining temperature readings with facial recognition)
- Reducing the viral load within an environment. At its simplest this involves regular cleaning with appropriate sanitisers and disinfectants. However, more sophisticated options exist including decontaminating floor mats and handles, as well as air purifiers. These are all likely to come into more widespread use in the coming months
- Improved monitoring. The public’s expectation of how health problems are managed in dental surgeries is likely to change. We expect that pulse oximeters and BP monitors will become more prevalent.
In order to adapt to the present situation, we have created a new service: ‘Fortuna-Bambach Dental Supplies’ to provide a ‘one-stop solution’ to help maintain a safe and reassuring environment for dental staff and patients alike.
As well as a comprehensive product list of PPE and hygiene products, we are introducing the innovative multi-layered Polymat, which removes dirt and pathogens from shoes, while ‘air purifiers’ can help to eliminate airborne viruses. Finally, we have monitoring equipment such as contactless infrared thermometers, pulse oximeters and blood pressure monitors.
In parallel, we have launched a new online ordering facility on our website. This will allow customers to buy products from Bambach-Fortuna Dental Supplies at any time. At the same time, we have accelerated the introduction of a Bambach Saddle Seat configurator, which lets the user ‘build’ their ideal seat and in most cases purchase it online.
The Polymat – a new way to reduce infection risk
The Polymat is a multi-layer decontaminating mat that acts as a barrier to help keep out dirt, dust, debris and bacteria. It can also help protect any area of your dental clinic against the growth and spread of micro-organisms.
Each mat is made up of 30 removable, low-density polythene sheets. All captured contaminants are removed by stripping off a layer. The next layer is then ready to work as a refreshed barrier.
Key features include:
- Acts as a barrier to prevent contaminants entering clean areas
- Contains an antibacterial agent that stops the growth and spread of captured micro-organisms
- 30 removable sheets
- Full-length adhesive backing, to secure the mat in place
- Use under opening doors
- Latex and phthalate free
- CE marked
- Retail packs contain five mats.
We hope that an effective vaccine for COVID-19 will become available next year, which will bring the current epidemic under control. The economic effects are likely to take longer to disappear however. We are optimistic that demand for dental services will gradually return to normal, albeit with a greater emphasis on infection control within the surgery.
In the meantime, we would like to thank our staff who continue to work tirelessly to keep our service operating.