With COVID-19, many dental offices were closed to everything but emergency dental services. Now that things are opening back up, we want our patients to know that their safety is our top priority. Dr. Scott Finlay, a dentist in Annapolis, MD, discusses the infection control protocols that are in place at our office.
Keeping With the Guidelines of the CDC and ADA
Since 1993, these two agencies have been working together to develop and continue updating infection control and sterilization standards for the dental industry. They continuously make sure that the latest dental technology and techniques are being used to ensure the safety of all dental patients. A CDC document gives dental workers tools and checklists to follow so that they can make sure the correct protocols are being followed.
Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
PPE is standard in the dental industry and necessary for the safety of both patients and staff. At the top of the list are disposable gloves. These are worn for every procedure and changed between patients and after touching other surfaces like the computer. Depending on the dental services being performed, they may be changed multiple times in a session. Proper handwashing techniques are followed before the gloves are put on.
Masks are required for everyone when they aren’t receiving treatment. Bibs are given to patients and staff is given protective covering so bodily fluids don’t get on skin or clothing. Eye protection is standard for dental workers. COVID-19 protocol recommends medical personnel go further and wear full-face shields to prevent anything passing between patients and staff.
Disinfection and Sterilization Techniques
Due to certain dental procedures, some dental tools have to be reused between patients. This means that they have to be sterilized with the most effective measures available. For high-risk tools, like those for oral surgery or periodontal therapy, this means they’re treated with heat. Lower-risk tools also use this solution when able, for any dental tools that are able to withstand high temperatures.
Other dental tools are completely disposable or have disposable parts. This lets patients know that they’re getting something new at the beginning of the appointment. For surface sterilization, such as for 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, stricter precautions are being followed. We’re limiting the number of people in our waiting room, so please come to your appointment alone if possible. When you get here, call the office from your car. We’re doing temperature checks and reviewing recent medical history before you’re able to enter the building. Upon entry, we’ll ask you to use hand sanitizer and rinse your mouth with a disinfecting solution.
Stay Safe at Your Annapolis, Maryland Dentist
We’re ready to see the smiles of our patients in the office again! Call us or schedule an appointment online.