With COVID-19, dental practices have been closed to everything but emergency services. Now that things are slowly opening back up, regular dental services are back open. However, it isn’t back to business as usual. Dr. Marvin N. Kaplan, a dentist in Cincinnati, OH, discusses the infection control measures present at our dental 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’re consistently working still to make sure the most updated techniques and technologies are being practiced. This CDC document contains checklists and tools for dental workers to ensure they’re following the proper protocols.
Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
PPE is a necessity for the safety of both patients and staff. Disposable gloves are a crucial part of that PPE. Gloves are changed between patients and after touching surfaces such as the computer. Depending on the dental services being performed, gloves may be changed multiple times throughout one appointment. Proper handwashing techniques are followed before gloves are put on.
Bibs are given to patients and protective coverings are given to staff to avoid contamination of clothing or skin. Eye protection is another necessary component of PPE for dental workers. Masks as well, and we may ask patients to wear them in the office when they aren’t being treated. Due to COVID-19, medical personnel is recommended to wear full-face shields, in order to prevent anything passing between patients and staff.
Disinfection and Sterilization Techniques
Due to the nature of dental work, it’s necessary that some tools are reused between patients. This means that the highest standards of sterilization have to be reached. For high-risk tools, like those used for oral surgery and periodontal therapy, this means using heat sterilization. Lower-risk tools also receive this treatment when they’re able to handle the high temperatures that come with it.
Other tools are disposable or have crucial parts that are. This allows patients to know that they’re getting something new at the beginning of their appointment. For surface sterilization, like for blood pressure cuffs and dental exam chairs, we thoroughly wipe them down with a disinfectant solution. This is also used in high-traffic areas like the reception desk and on surfaces in the waiting room.
With COVID-19, further precautions are being taken. We’re trying to limit the number of people in our waiting room at one time. We may ask you to call when you get here and stay in your car until we come to get you. Temperature checks, COVID-19 questionnaires, and masks may be needed before you can enter the office. We may also ask you to use hand sanitizer and do a disinfectant oral rinse upon entering.
Your Dentist in Cincinnati, Ohio
We want our patients to know our top priority is keeping them safe. Call us or schedule an appointment online!