With the COVID-19 pandemic, dental offices across the country have been closed for everything but emergency dental services. Now that things are slowly opening back up, we want our patients to know that your safety is our biggest priority. Dr. Melissa Elliott, a dentist in Fallston, MD, discusses the infection control and sterilization protocols in place at Harford County Dentistry.
Following the Guidelines of the CDC and ADA
These two agencies have been working together since 1993 to make sure protocols are in place and constantly updated for the dental industry. They ensure that the latest and greatest technology and techniques are being used to make sure both patients and staff are safe. A document created by the CDC offers tools and checklists for dental workers to make sure all the proper steps are being taken.
Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
PPE is essential for the safety of both our patients and staff. Disposable gloves are the most important component. Gloves are changed between each patient and after touching services like the computer. Depending on the dental services being done, gloves may be changed multiple times during one patient’s treatment. Proper handwashing techniques are followed before every pair is put on.
Other PPE enhances safety. Bibs are given to patients and protective gear to the staff so that bodily fluids aren’t gotten on the skin. Eye protection is always a part of dental PPE, but COVID-19 has implemented stricter restrictions. Full-face shields should be worn by all medical personnel to make sure nothing passes between patients and staff.
Disinfection and Sterilization Techniques
Due to the nature of dental procedures, some dental tools have to be reused between patients. For high-risk tools, like those used for oral surgery or periodontal disease treatment, heat sterilization is used. This is the most effective form of sterilization. Heat sterilization is also used for any lower-risk tools that can withstand high temperatures.
Other dental tools are disposable, so a patient knows that they’re getting a new set for their treatment. For surface disinfection, like on blood pressure cuffs or the dental chair, surfaces are wiped down with a disinfectant. This is also utilized in other high-traffic areas, like the reception desk or surfaces in the waiting room.
With COVID-19, restrictions are becoming more stringent. We’re limiting the number of people that are in our waiting room at one time. We may ask you to wait in your car until someone comes out to get you. Temperature checks and specific medical questions regarding COVID-19 may be required to enter the office. You may also be required to sanitize your hands upon entry.
Your Dentist in Fallston, Maryland
We want our patients to know that they can feel safe when they schedule an appointment in our office. Call us or schedule an appointment online!