Due to COVID-19, dental offices were closed across the country. Now that things are slowly opening back up, regular dental services can start to be offered. We want our patients to know that they can feel safe inside our office. Dr. Peter Auster of Cosmetic Dentistry Associates, a dentist in Rockland County, NY, discusses our infection control and sterilization guidelines.
Complying with the CDC and ADA Guidelines
These two agencies have been working together since 1993 to develop and implement infection control and sterilization guidelines for the dental industry. They continue to work to update and make sure the latest techniques and technologies are being used. A CDC document contains tools and checklists for dental workers so they can ensure they’re following the proper protocols.
Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
PPE is necessary for the safety of both our patients and our staff. One of the most important components of PPE is disposable gloves. Gloves are changed between patients and after touching surfaces like the computer. Depending on the dental services being performed, gloves may be changed multiple times through the course of one patient. Proper handwashing techniques are followed before gloves are put on.
Patients are given bibs and staff is given protective coverings to avoid bodily fluids getting on skin or clothing. Eye protection is another standard component of dental PPE. Dental staff will also be wearing facemasks at all times. It’s recommended that medial personnel wear full-face shields to avoid anything passing between patients and staff, so you may notice those as well.
Disinfection and Sterilization Techniques
Due to the nature of dental work, some dental tools have to be reused between patients. This calls for the highest measure of sterilization. For high-risk tools, like those used for oral surgery and periodontal therapy, this means heat sterilization. Lower-risk tools are also sterilized in this way when they’re able to withstand the high temperatures.
Other dental tools are fully disposable or have crucial disposable parts. Patients then know they’re getting something brand new at the beginning of their appointment. For surface sterilization, used on things like blood pressure cuffs and exam chairs, they’re thoroughly wiped down with a disinfectant solution. This method is also used in high-traffic areas like the reception desk and surfaces in the waiting room.
With COVID-19, you may notice some other changes. We’re limiting the number of people allowed in the waiting room at one time. We may ask you to wait in your car until we come out to get you. Masks will be required for all patients coming in, and temperature checks and COVID-19 questionnaires may be required before you may enter. We’ll also ask you to use hand sanitizer and possibly a disinfectant mouth rinse when you come in.
Your Dentist in Rockland County, New York
We want our patients to know that their safety is our highest priority. We’re ready to see our patients’ smiles again! Call us or schedule an appointment online.