With the COVID-19 pandemic, many dental practices were closed to everything but emergency dental services. Now that things are slowly opening up and we’re able to provide most services, we want patients to know they’re safe at our office. Dr. William Huckin, a dentist in Dallas, TX, explains the infection control and sterilization protocols followed in our office.
Following the CDC and ADA Guidelines
These two agencies have been working together since 1993 to create and implement guidelines for infection control and sterilization in the dental industry. They continue to make sure these guidelines are updated and the latest techniques and technologies are used. A CDC document provides dental workers with checklists and tools they can use to make sure that all the proper protocols are being followed.
Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
PPE is necessary for the safety of both patients and staff. A key component of PPE is disposable gloves. Gloves are changed between patients and when outside surfaces like the computer are touched. Depending on the dental services being performed, they may be changed multiple times with the same patient to ensure cleanliness. Proper handwashing techniques are followed before putting on a pair of gloves.
Patients are given bibs and dental staff is given protective cover to ensure that bodily fluids don’t get on clothing or skin. Eye protection is another standard component of dental PPE. However, it’s recommended that medical personnel wear full-face shields due to COVID-19. The aim is to avoid anything being spread 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 absolute highest standards of sterilization need to be met. For high-risk tools, like those used for oral surgery and periodontal therapy, sterilization is done with heat. This is also used for lower-risk tools that are able to withstand the high temperatures of heat sterilization.
For other dental tools, they’re completely disposable or have disposable parts that are changed out for each patient. This lets the patient know they’re getting something new at the beginning of their appointment. For surface sterilization, like with blood pressure cuffs and dental chairs, they’re thoroughly wiped down 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 notice some stricter precautions. We’re trying to limit the number of people in our waiting room at one time. We may ask you to call from your car and wait until we come to get you. COVID-19 questionnaires and temperature checks may be required before entering the building. Hand sanitizing may also be required when you get into the office.
Your Dallas, Texas Dentist
We want our patients to know they have nothing to worry about in our office. Call us or schedule an appointment online!