With COVID-19, dental practices across the country were closed to everything but emergency services. Now that things are slowly opening back up, many offices are able to offer regular services again. We want to make sure that our patients know they’re safe in our office. Dr. Heather Adams, a dentist in Rogers, AR, discusses infection control precautions in our office.
Following the CDC and ADA Guidelines
Since 1993, these two agencies have worked together to develop and implement infection control and sterilization guidelines for the dental industry. They continue to work to update these guidelines, ensuring that the latest technologies and techniques are being used. A CDC document contains tools and checklists so that dental workers can make sure they’re following the correct protocols, even without a pandemic looming.
Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
PPE is a necessity for the safety of both patients and staff. One of the most important PPE components is disposable gloves. Gloves are changed between patients and when surfaces like the computer are touched. Depending on the dental services being performed, they may 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 clothes or skin by bodily fluids. Masks are worn by staff, now even when they aren’t performing procedures due to COVID-19. Eye protection is also standard for dental worker PPE. Medical personnel have been recommended to wear full-face shields for COVID-19 protection, so you may see staff with these as well.
Disinfection and Sterilization Techniques
Due to the nature of dental work, it’s necessary for some dental tools to be reused between patients. This means they have to meet the highest standards of sterilization. For high-risk tools, such as those used for oral surgery or periodontal therapy, this means heat sterilization. This method is also used for lower-risk tools that can withstand the high temperatures.
Other tools are completely disposable or contain crucial parts that are. Patients know they’re getting something new when the sealed package is opened at the beginning of their appointment. For surface sterilization, like for blood pressure cuffs and dental chairs, 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 see other precautions being taken. We’re trying to limit the number of people in our waiting room at one time. We may have you call when you get here and wait for us to come to the parking lot to get you. Masks, medical questionnaires, and temperature checks may be required to enter the office. Upon entry, we may ask you to use hand sanitizer or a disinfectant oral rinse.
Staying Safe at Your Rogers, Arkansas Dentist
We want our patients to know their safety is our top priority. And we’re ready to see the smiles of all of our patients! Call us or schedule an appointment online.