With COVID-19, many dental offices were closed to everything but emergency services. Now that things are slowly opening back up and more services are able to be performed, we want our patients to know that they’re safe in our office. Lee, Bonfiglio, Vesely, and Associates, dentists in Annapolis, MD, discuss their infection control and dental sterilization protocol, both pre-COVID and the extra steps we’re taking now.
Following the CDC and ADA Guidelines
Since 1993, these two agencies have been working together to enact and update infection control and sterilization guidelines for the dental industry. They consistently work to make sure the best techniques and most updated technology are being used to keep patients safe. A CDC document provides tools and checklists so that dental workers everywhere can make sure they’re following the proper standard protocols.
Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
PPE is a necessity to keep both patients and staff safe and hygienic. One of the most important components is disposable gloves. These are changed between each patient and when other surfaces like the computer are touched. Depending on the dental services being performed, gloves may be changed multiple times with one patient to ensure they’re clean. Proper handwashing techniques are followed before a pair is put on.
Bibs are given to patients and protective coverings are given to staff to avoid bodily fluids getting on clothing or skin. Eye protection is also a standard part of PPE for dental staff. However, with COVID-19 it’s recommended that medical personnel wear a full-face shield to ensure that nothing passes between the patient and staff.
Disinfection and Sterilization Techniques
Due to the nature of some dental services, it’s necessary that tools are reused between patients. This means that the highest level of sterilization must be met, particularly for high-risk tools like those used for oral surgery or periodontal therapy. For these, heat sterilization is used to ensure the best result. Heat sterilization is also used for lower-risk tools that can handle the higher temperatures.
For other dental tools, they’re completely disposable or crucial parts of them are, like the heads of the polishing toothbrush. This lets patients know that they’re getting something new at the beginning of their appointment. For surface sterilization, like for blood pressure cuffs or the dental chair, they’re thoroughly wiped down with a disinfectant solution. This is also used for high-traffic areas like the reception desk and waiting room services.
You may notice more restrictions due to COVID-19. We’re limiting the number of people allowed in the waiting room at one time. Medical grade air purification has been installed. We’re also using systems that minimize and isolate aerosols from dental procedures. Temperature checks and COVID-19 questionnaires may be required to be completed before you can enter the office. We may require that you sanitize your hands upon entry as well.
Stay Safe With Your Dentists in Annapolis, Maryland
We want you to know that your safety is our highest priority and we’re ready to see the smiles of patients in our office! Call us or schedule an appointment online.