With COVID-19, many dental practices were closed to everything but emergency dental services. Now that things are slowly opening up, we want to make sure that our patients and employees feel safe when they’re coming into our practice. Dr. Justin Deckard of DC Precision Dentistry, a dentist in Washington DC, discusses the measures for infection prevention and control that are done in our office.
Following the CDC and ADA Guidelines
Since 1993, these two agencies have been working together to ensure that infection control guidelines for the dental industry are updated with the best information possible. With COVID-19, even more guidelines and steps are being followed to make sure the patients are safe. A 2016 document uses tools and checklists to ensure that dental employees have the correct tools to follow all of the needed protocols.
Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
PPE is for the protection of both patients and our staff. One of the most important pieces of equipment is a pair of gloves. These are changed between each patient. Depending on the dental services provided, the gloves may also be changed multiple times during one patient. Touching other surfaces is kept as minimal as possible. Proper handwashing techniques are followed before gloves are put on.
For each patient, we provide bibs to ensure that their clothing isn’t contaminated with bodily fluids. Staff wears certain clothing to avoid this for themselves. While eye protection was always a part of dental PPE, COVID-19 protocol for medical employees is stricter. A full-face shield is worn to completely protect both patient and staff from contamination from bodily fluids.
Sterilization and Disinfection
Due to the nature of dental procedures, there are some tools that have to be reused between patients. It’s necessary that these tools are cleaned with the highest level of sterilization possible. For high-risk tools, like those used for oral surgery or periodontal therapy, these require heat sterilization. Heat is also used to sterilize many lower-risk tools as well since they’re built to withstand higher temperatures.
Many other things used for dental procedures are disposable. Patients can then know that they’re getting something brand new for their dental procedure. For contact surfaces, like a blood pressure cuff or the dental chair, they’re wiped down with disinfectant. This is also true for high-traffic areas like the reception desk and surfaces in the waiting room.
Due to COVID-19, patients may experience some stricter protocols. A limited number of people will be allowed in the waiting room at a time. You may have to wait in your car until we come to get you. Temperature checks may be required to enter the building. We may also require you to sanitize your hands when you come into the office.
Your Dentist in Washington DC
The safety of our staff and patients is our highest priority. Call us or schedule an appointment online today!