Due to COVID-19, dental practices across the country were closed. Now, things are slowly opening up and dental practices are able to start regular services again. We want our patients to know that they’re safe in our office when they come here for treatment. Dr. Angie Hedlund of Esthetic Dental Solutions, a dentist in Alpharetta, GA, discusses the infection control and sterilization protocols at our office.
Complying With the Guidelines of the CDC and ADA
Since 1993, these two agencies have been working together to develop and implement guidelines for infection control and sterilization in the dental industry. They continuously work to ensure the latest techniques and technologies are being used. A CDC document with tools and checklists is available so that dental workers know they’re following all of the proper protocols.
Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
PPE is a necessity for the safety of both patients and staff. One of the most important components of PPE is disposable gloves. Gloves are changed after every patient and when surfaces like the computer are touched. Depending on the dental services being performed, gloves may be changed multiple times with one patient. Proper handwashing techniques are followed before a pair of gloves is put on.
Patients are provided with bibs and staff have protective coverings to ensure that bodily fluids don’t contaminate clothing or skin. Eye protection is another standard component of dental PPE. With COVID-19, our staff will all be wearing masks at all times. Medical personnel is also recommended to don full-face shields to make sure that nothing passes between the patients and staff.
Disinfection and Sterilization Techniques
Due to the nature of dental work, dental tools sometimes have to be reused between patients. This means that the highest level of sterilization has to be followed. For high-risk tools, like those used for oral surgery or periodontal disease treatment, this means they’re sterilized with heat. Lower-risk tools are also held to this sterilization standard when they’re able to withstand the high temperatures that come with heat sterilization.
Other dental tools are fully disposable or have crucial parts that are. This lets patients know they’re getting something completely new at the beginning of their appointment. For surface sterilization, such as for dental chairs and blood pressure cuffs, they’re wiped down thoroughly with a disinfectant solution. This is also used for high-traffic areas like the reception desk and surfaces in the waiting room.
With COVID-19, stricter protocols may be applied. We’re limiting the number of people allowed in our waiting room at one time. We may ask you to wait in the car until we come to get you for your appointment. Temperature checks and COVID-19 questionnaires may be required before you’re allowed to enter the office. Masks will need to be worn and hand sanitizer and oral disinfectant rinses may be required upon entry.
Your Dentist in Alpharetta, Georgia
We want our patients to know that their safety is our top priority. We’re also just ready to see our patients’ smiles again! Call us or schedule an appointment online.