With COVID-19, dental practices across the country were closed to everything but emergency appointments. Now that things are slowly starting to open back up, we’re able to provide full dental services. We want our patients to know that they’re safe when they come in here for treatment. Dr. Dhara Patel of Best Dental Spa, a dentist in Hoffman Estates, IL, explains the precautions we’re taking.
Complying With the CDC and ADA Guidelines
Since 1993, these two agencies have been working together to develop and implement infection control and sterilization guidelines for the dental industry. They continue to update and innovate to ensure the latest technologies and techniques are being implemented. A CDC document provides tools and checklists dental workers can reference to make sure all of the right protocols are being followed.
Personal Protection Equipment (PPE)
PPE is necessary for the safety of both patients and staff. One of the most important components of dental PPE is disposable gloves. Gloves are changed between patients and after touching surfaces like the computer. Depending on the dental services being performed, gloves may be changed multiple times throughout one appointment. Proper handwashing techniques are followed before gloves are put on.
Bibs are given to patients and the staff wears protective coverings to prevent the contamination of skin and clothing. The staff has masks and patients may be required now to wear masks when they aren’t being treated. Eye covering is another standard component of staff PPE. Medical personnel are recommended to wear full-face shields with COVID-19, so you may also see staff with these.
Disinfection and Sterilization Techniques
Due to the nature of dental work, sometimes dental tools have to be reused. This means they must meet the highest sterilization standards. For high-risk tools, like those used for oral surgery and periodontal therapy, heat sterilization is used. Lower-risk tools are also sterilized with this when they’re capable of handling the high temperatures of heat sterilization.
Other dental tools are completely disposable or have crucial parts that are. The patient then knows that they’re getting something new at the beginning of their appointment. For surface sterilization, like for blood pressure cuffs and exam chairs, we thoroughly wipe them 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, you may notice stricter precautions. We’re trying to limit the number of people in our waiting room at one time. You may be asked to call when you’re here and wait in your car until we come to get you. Temperature checks and COVID-19 questionnaires may be required before you’re allowed entry. Upon coming into the office, we may ask you to use a hand sanitizer and a disinfectant oral rinse.
Your Dentist in Hoffman Estates, Illinois
We want you to know that your safety is our top priority. We miss our patients’ smiles! Call us or schedule an appointment online.