With COVID-19, many dental offices were closed to everything but emergency dental procedures. As things slowly open back up, those of us at Claremont Dental Institute want our patients to feel safe in our office. Dr. Vijay Patel, a dentist in Claremont, CA, reviews the office’s dental sterilization protocol so patients know they have nothing to worry about.
Following the CDC and ADA Guidelines
These two prominent organizations have been working together since 1993 to develop and update infection control and sterilization guidelines for the dentistry industry. These are constantly being updated and amended as newer and better ways of sterilization are discovered. In 2016, a guide was released containing tools and checklists for dental practices to easily follow to ensure the proper sterilization of the office.
Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
PPE is used to protect both the staff and the patients from any infection contamination between parties. Our staff always uses gloves that are changed after every patient and multiple times during one patient’s visit, depending on the procedures being done. They’re also changed after touching other surfaces. Proper handwashing protocols are followed before and after using gloves and caring for our patients.
Certain clothing is worn to make sure bodily fluids don’t get on the skin of the staff. While eye coverings are normally worn, COVID-19 has recommended full-face shields for medical professionals. This protects bodily fluids from being interchanged between staff and patients. With COVID-19, we’ve taken our already strict PPE protocol to the next level.
Sterilization of Tools and Instruments
With some dental tools, it’s inevitable that some have to be reused between patients. This is why we have to make sure that they’re always sterilized properly. For high-risk instruments, like those used for oral surgery or periodontal therapy, the highest level of sterilization is used — heat. Heat sterilization is also used for lower-risk instruments, as many of them are able to handle high temperatures.
For things that are just touched on a surface level, such as a blood pressure cuff or the dental chair, these are wiped down with disinfectant. This is also true of high-traffic areas that many people will be in, such as the reception desk and waiting room. With COVID-19, these things are being cleaned and wiped down more frequently than ever.
Other extra precautions may be taken. The waiting room will only hold a limited number of patients, and you may be asked to wait in your car until we come to get you. Temperature checks may be done before you enter the office at all. We may also ask patients to sanitize their hands upon entering the building.
Your Dentist in Claremont, California
We want to make sure our office is a safe place for all of our patients. Call us or schedule an appointment online!