A new free-to-use Fallow Time Calculator has been launched to enable dental professionals to determine, justify and record the fallow period necessary following dental procedures carrying a higher risk of exposure to potentially-infectious aerosols.
Built by digital consent platform Flynotes, supported by Practice Plan and Wesleyan, and endorsed by the Chief Dental Officer for England, the new tool complements the COVID-19 guidance published by the Faculty of General Dental Practice UK (FGDP) and the College of General Dentistry (CGDent), the recent update of which incorporates the Scottish Dental Clinical Effectiveness Programme (SDCEP) recommendations on fallow time.
Public Health England guidance currently recommends a fallow period of 60 minutes in a treatment room with less than 10 air changes per hour from the point that an aerosol-generating procedure is completed. The FGDP-CGDent guidance recommends that practitioners justify any decision to stray from this, record factors which allow reduction of the time, and include details in the clinical record for each patient.
The Fallow Time Calculator is designed to facilitate this process, and is based on SDCEP’s multifactorial approach to determining fallow time. Set out in its recent publication, Mitigation of Aerosol Generating Procedures in Dentistry - A Rapid Review, this sets a ‘benchmark’ time of 15-30 minutes, which will vary dependent on the type and length of procedure, the employment of procedural mitigations such as high-volume suction and rubber dam, and the availability of environmental mitigations such as air ventilation.
Available at https://myftc.co.uk, the Fallow Time Calculator also offers a full audit trail, updated regularly in accordance with the guidelines, which practices can use to aid diary planning, allowing efficient patient treatment flows whilst ensuring necessary fallow periods are implemented. Register at https://myftc.co.uk/register.
Ian Mills FFGDP(UK), Dean of the Faculty and a Trustee of CGDent, said:
“I’m proud and delighted to launch the new Fallow Time Calculator, which is the result of a fantastic collaborative effort. I particularly want to thank two fellow members of our guidance task group for their work in developing it - Flynotes CEO, Govin Murugachandran, and Faculty member and Deputy CDO for England, Jason Wong – as well as Wesleyan and Practice Plan for their generous support, which has enabled both the development of the calculator, and its free publication for the benefit of the whole profession.
“The tool is based on the recent SDCEP recommendations, which provide a sensible, pragmatic and safe approach to managing fallow time and the potential risk from bioaerosol. I am confident that the Fallow Time Calculator will be seen as a significant aid to the dental team and will support dental practices to continue their transition back towards delivering routine care.”