With COVID-19, dental practices across the country were closed to everything but emergency dental services. Now that things are slowly opening back up, many offices can perform regular dental services again. We want our patients to know that they can feel safe in our office. Dr. Brock W. Hyder of Payette Dental, a dentist in Payette, ID, discusses infection control practices in our office.
Complying With the CDC and ADA Guidelines
Since 1993, these two agencies have been working together to develop and implement infection control and sterilization guidelines for the dental industry. They continue to work to make sure updated technologies and techniques are being recommended and used. A CDC document contains checklists and tools for dental workers to use to ensure they’re following the proper protocols, even when a pandemic isn’t looming.
Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
PPE is a necessity for the safety of both patients and staff. One of the most important components of PPE is disposable gloves. Gloves are changed between patients and when surfaces like the computer are touched. Depending on the dental services being performed, gloves made be changed multiple times with one patient to ensure cleanliness. Proper handwashing techniques are followed before a pair is put on.
Protective coverings are given to both patients and staff to avoid contamination of skin or clothing by bodily fluids. Masks are standard for dental worker PPE, but will most likely be worn even when procedures aren’t being performed. Eye protection is also standard. You may see workers with full-face shields as well, as this is what’s recommended to medical personnel to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
Disinfection and Sterilization Techniques
Due to the nature of dental work, some dental tools have to be reused between patients. This means the highest level of sterilization is required to be met for these tools. For high-risk tools, like those used for oral surgery or periodontal therapy, they’re sterilized with heat. Lower-risk tools are sterilized in this way as well when they can handle the high temperatures involved.
Other tools are completely disposable or contain crucial parts that are. Patients know these are sterile when they see them coming from sealed packaging at the beginning of their appointment. For surface sterilization, for dental chairs, for example, they’re wiped down thoroughly with a disinfectant solution. This is also done in high-traffic areas like the reception desk and surfaces in the waiting room.
With COVID-19, you may notice more precautions being taken. We’re limiting the number of people allowed in our waiting room at one time. We may ask you to call when you’re here and wait in the parking lot for us to come and get you. Masks, temperature checks, and medical questionnaires may be required before you can enter the office. Upon entry, we may ask you to use a hand sanitizer or an oral disinfectant rinse.
Stay Safe at Your Payette, Idaho Dentist
We want our patients to know that their safety is our highest priority. Call us or schedule an appointment online.