Due to COVID-19, many dental practices have been closed to everything but emergency services. However, now that things are starting to open back up, we’re able to provide regular services again. We want our patients to know the infection control protocols we follow regularly, as well as additional ones for COVID-19. Dr. Bradley Dean, a sedation dentist in Plano, TX, discusses infection control at his office.
Following the Guidelines of the CDC and ADA
Since 1993, these two agencies have worked together to develop and update infection control and sterilization guidelines for the dental industry. They work together to ensure that the latest techniques and technology are recommended and followed by dental practices. A CDC document provides dental workers with checklists and tools that they can use to ensure the proper protocols are being followed.
Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
PPE is a necessity for the safety of both patients and staff. Most importantly, disposable gloves are used prominently. Gloves are changed between patients and when the dental worker touches other surfaces, such as the computer. Sometimes, depending on the periodontal services being performed, gloves are changed multiple times with one patient. Proper handwashing techniques are followed before gloves are put on.
Patients are given bibs and staff is given protective covering so that bodily fluids don’t get on clothing or skin. Eye protection is always a part of dental PPE. However, medical personnel has been getting recommendations to wear full-face shields so that nothing passes between patients and staff. You may see staff with more protection than usual.
Disinfection and Sterilization Techniques
Due to the nature of dental work, some dental tools have to be reused between patients. This means that the highest level of sterilization must be met, especially for high-risk tools like those used for surgical periodontal treatment. These tools use heat sterilization to meet this requirement. Lower-risk tools that are able to withstand high temperatures utilize this as well.
For other dental tools, they’re made to be completely disposable or have parts that are disposable. This way, the patient knows that they’re getting a sterile set at the beginning of their treatment. For surface sterilization, like for blood pressure cuffs and exam chairs, they’re thoroughly wiped down with disinfectant. This method is also used for high-traffic areas like the reception desk and surfaces in the waiting room.
You may see stricter protocols with COVID-19. We’re trying to limit the number of people in the waiting room at one time. We may ask you to wait in your car until we come to get you. Temperature checks and COVID-19 questionnaires may be required to be completed before you enter the office. We may also require you to sanitize your hands upon entry.
Your Plano, Texas Sedation Dentist
We’re ready to see the smiling faces of our patients back in our office again! Call us or schedule an appointment online.