With COVID-19, dental practices around the country were closed to everything but emergency services. Now that things are slowly opening back up, regular dental services are able to be performed again. We want our patients to know that they’re safe in our office. Dr. Jose Gil of Hamilton Dental Designs, a dentist in Allentown, PA, discusses the infection control measures performed in our office.
Following 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 make updates to ensure the best technology and techniques are being used. A CDC document provides tools and checklists to dental workers so that they can make sure they’re following the proper protocols, even when there isn’t a pandemic threat.
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 after touching surfaces like the computer. Depending on the dental services being performed, gloves may be changed multiple times with one patient to ensure cleanliness. Proper handwashing techniques are followed before a pair is put on.
Patients are given bibs and staff has protective coverings to avoid contaminating skin or clothing with bodily fluids. Masks are a standard part of PPE for dental workers, but they’re now worn at all times, even when not performing a procedure. Eye protection is also worn. Medical personnel are recommended to wear full-face shields for COVID-19 precautions, so you may see workers in these as well.
Disinfection and Sterilization Techniques
Due to the nature of dental procedures, some dental tools have to be reused between patients. This means they have to be sterilized according to the highest standards to make sure they’re safe. For high-risk tools, like those used for oral surgery or root canals, they’re cleaned with heat sterilization. Lower-risk tools are also cleaned in this manner when they’re able to withstand the high temperatures.
Other dental tools are completely disposable or contain crucial parts that are. Patients know they’re getting something new when they see them removed from a sealed package at the beginning of their appointment. For surface sterilization, like with dental chairs, they’re wiped down thoroughly with a disinfectant solution. This technique is also used in high-traffic areas like the reception desk.
With COVID-19, more precautions are being taken. We’re limiting the number of people allowed in our waiting room at once. We may have you call when you’re here and wait in the parking lot for us to come to get you. Masks, temperature checks, and medical questionnaires may be required before you’re permitted to enter. When you come to the office, we may have you use a hand sanitizer or a disinfectant oral rinse.
Staying Safe at Your Allentown, Pennsylvania Dentist
We want our patients to know their safety is our top priority. Call us or schedule an appointment online!