Due to COVID-19, dental practices across the country have been closed to everything but emergency dental services. Now that things are slowly opening up, we want our patients to know that they don’t have to worry about their safety when they come into our office. Dr. James White, a dentist in Las Vegas, NV, discusses the measures our office has taken for infection prevention and control.
Following the Guidelines of the CDC and ADA
Since 1993, these two agencies have worked together to create and consistently update infection control and sterilization guidelines for the dental industry. They take care to make sure that the latest and best methods of sterilization are being used at all times. A CDC document contains helpful checklists and tools for dental practices. This helps us to ensure that we’re following the proper protocols.
Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
PPE is necessary to protect both our patients and our staff. One of the most important items of PPE is disposable gloves. These are changed between patients and after touching other surfaces like the computer. Depending on the dental services being performed, they may be changed multiple times with the same patient. Proper handwashing protocols are followed before gloves are put on.
Patients are given bibs and staff is given protective clothing to protect skin and clothing from bodily fluids. Eye protection is always a component of dental PPE. However, with COVID-19, regulations have become stricter for medical personnel. Full-face shields should be worn to ensure that nothing is passing between the patients and the staff.
Disinfection and Sterilization Techniques
Due to the nature of dental work, it’s inevitable that some tools have to be reused with patients. This requires the highest level of sterilization, to ensure patient safety. For high-risk tools like those used for oral surgery or periodontal therapy, this means sterilizing them with heat. Lower-risk tools are often sterilized with heat as well, as most of them can handle higher temperatures.
Some tools and equipment are disposable or have disposable covers or parts. This reassures the patient and lets them know that they’re getting something new at the start of their treatment. For cleaning surfaces like blood pressure cuffs or dental chairs, they’re wiped down with disinfectant. This is also done for high-traffic areas like the reception desk and surfaces in the waiting room.
COVID-19 has added greater restrictions to our protocols. Only a limited number of people will be allowed in the waiting room at one time. We may ask you to wait in your car until we come to get you. Temperature checks and COVID-19 symptom questionnaires may be required to enter the office. We may also require you to sanitize your hands upon entry.
Your Dentist in Las Vegas, Nevada
We’re looking forward to seeing the smiles of our patients back in our office. We want you to know that your safety is our highest priority. Call us or schedule an appointment online!