With COVID-19, dental practices were closed across the country to everything but emergency dental services. Now that things are slowly opening back up, dentists are able to perform a wider range of services. We want to make sure patients know that they can feel safe in our office. Dr. Caleb A. Robinson, a dentist in New Philadelphia, OH, explains the sterilization protocols present in our office.
Following the Guidelines of the CDC and ADA
Since 1993, these two agencies have been working together to make sure guidelines are created and consistently updated for the dental industry. They want to ensure that the absolute best practices are being taught and required for dental practices. A CDC document provides dental workers with tools and checklists to make sure they’re following all of the proper protocols.
Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
PPE is essential for the safety of both patients and staff. Most importantly, disposable gloves are used in dental offices. They’re changed before each patient and when other surfaces are touched, such as the computer. Depending on the dental services being performed, they may be changed multiple times with the same patient. Proper handwashing protocols are used before gloves are even put on.
Bibs are given to patients and protective clothing is given to staff to protect clothing and skin from bodily fluids. Eye protection is also always used in dental practices. But with COVID-19, face and eye protection for medical personnel are more restrictive. Full-face shields are required to prevent anything from passing between patients and staff.
Disinfection and Sterilization Techniques
Due to the nature of dental work, many dental tools have to be reused between patients. This means that the highest sterilization practices must be followed. For high-risk tools, like those used for oral surgery and periodontal treatment, heat is used. Heat is the most effective form of sterilization. Lower-risk tools are also treated with heat when they’re able to withstand the temperatures.
There are also disposable options for some dental tools, or for coverings on machines. This way, the patient knows they’re getting something new at the start of their appointment. For surfaces that need to be cleaned, like blood pressure cuffs and dental chairs, they’re thoroughly wiped down with disinfectant. This method is also used in high-traffic areas like the reception desk and surfaces in the waiting room.
With COVID-19, certain things have to be stricter. We’re limiting the number of people that are allowed in the waiting room at one time. We may ask you to wait in the car until we come out to get you. Temperature checks and COVID-19 questionnaires may be needed before you come into the office. We may also ask you to sanitize your hands upon entry.
Your Dentist in New Philadelphia, Ohio
We want you to know that your safety is our priority. We’re ready to see the smiles of our patients again. Call us or schedule an appointment online!