With COVID-19, dental offices all over the country were closed to everything but emergency services. Now, with things slowly starting to open up, we want to make sure our patients know that we have their safety first in our minds. Dr. Daryle J. Mahnke, a dentist in Bay City, MI, explains the infection control measures in place at our office.
Following the CDC and ADA Guidelines
Since 1993, these two agencies have been working together to create and update guidelines for infection control and sterilization in the dental industry. They aim to ensure that all the latest techniques are being used to get the best results possible. In particular, a CDC document contains checklists and tools for the dental industry so every office can make sure they’re following proper protocol.
Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
PPE protects both the patients and our staff. Most importantly, disposable gloves are used in our practice. These are changed between patients, as well as after touching other surfaces like the computer. Sometimes, depending on the dental services being performed, they’re changed multiple times with one patient. Proper handwashing techniques are followed before every pair of gloves is put on.
In addition, there are other forms of PPE used in the dental industry. Bibs for patients and special clothing for staff helps prevent bodily fluids from getting on the skin. Eye protection is always a part of PPE for dental workers. However, with COVID-19, stricter measures are being taken. Medical personnel is wearing full-face shields to protect any spread of bodily fluids between patients and staff.
Disinfection and Sterilization Techniques
Due to the nature of dental work, some tools have to be reused. For the highest-risk tools, like those used for surgery and gum disease treatment, heat sterilization is used. This is the most effective form. Many lower-risk tools are sterilized in this manner as well since they can handle the higher temperatures. Some disposable tools are also available so that each patient gets a new one.
For surface sterilization, such as the dental chair and blood pressure cuffs, they’re wiped down with disinfectant. This is done in areas with high traffic as well, such as the reception desk and surfaces in the waiting room.
COVID-19 has caused things to be stricter. Limited people will be allowed in the waiting room and we may ask you to wait in your car until we come to get you. Your temperature may be checked upon entering the office. You may also be asked to sanitize your hands when you’re entering the building as well.
Your Dentist in Bay City, Michigan
We want to reassure you that the safety of you and our staff is the most important thing to us. Call us or schedule an appointment online!