COVID-19 caused dental practices across the country to be closed to everything but emergency services. Now that things are slowly opening back up, regular dental procedures are able to be performed again. We want patients to know that they don’t have to worry about the safety of our office. Dr. Jim D. Lassiter, a dentist in Milton, FL, explains the infection control and dental sterilization protocols followed in our office.
Complying With CDC and ADA Guidelines
Since 1993, these two agencies have been working together to create infection control and sterilization guidelines for the dental industry. They continue to work to make sure the latest techniques and dental technology are being used for patients’ safety. The CDC provides a document for dental workers that contains tools and checklists to ensure that all the proper protocols are being followed.
Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
PPE is a necessity for the safety of both the patient and the 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, gloves may be changed multiple times with the same patient to ensure cleanliness. Proper handwashing techniques are always followed before a pair is put on.
Patients also receive a bib and dental workers receive protective covering to prevent bodily fluids from getting on skin or clothing. Eye protection is another standard component for dental staff’s PPE. With COVID-19, you may see more intense eye protection than normal. It’s recommended that medical personnel wear full-face shields to ensure absolutely nothing can pass between patients and staff.
Disinfection and Sterilization Techniques
With the nature of dental procedures, sometimes it’s necessary to use certain tools and equipment across patients. This means that the highest standards of sterilization must be met. For high-risk tools like those used for oral surgery and periodontal therapy, heat sterilization is used. Lower-risk tools also receive this treatment when they’re able to handle the high temperatures that are needed for this form of sterilization.
Other dental tools are completely disposable or have their most heavily used parts as disposable. Patients can know that they’re getting something new at the beginning of their appointment. For surface sterilization, like for blood pressure cuffs and dental chairs, we thoroughly wipe them down with a disinfectant. This is also used for high-traffic areas like the reception desk and surfaces in the waiting room.
With COVID-19, you may notice stricter precautions. We’re trying to limit the number of people in our waiting room at once. We may ask you to call when you get here and we’ll come out for you. Temperature checks and COVID-19 questionnaires may need to be completed before you’re allowed inside. We may also ask you to sanitize your hands upon entry and use a disinfectant oral rinse before treatment.
Your Milton, Florida Dentist
We want our patients to know their safety is our highest priority. And we’re ready to see their smiles again! Call us or schedule an appointment online.