At Ridgetop Dental Group, we always put the safety of our patients and staff first. While this was true before COVID-19, it’s even more true after. This is why we have strict infection control measures that help keep our office sterilized and safe. Dr. Datta, a dentist in Northern VA, discusses the infection control measures present in our office.
Following the CDC and ADA Guidelines
Since 1993, these two agencies have worked together to create, update, and amend infection control and sterilization protocols for the dentistry industry. They’re constantly changing as new and better ways to make sure things are sterile are discovered. A 2016 document is the standard used for the industry, with checklists and tools to make sure that dental workers are following the correct measures.
Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
PPE is used to help protect both patients and staff from bodily fluids and other contamination. One of the most crucial items of PPE is a pair of gloves. They’re changed between patients and also possibly multiple times during one patient, depending on the dental services being performed. Strict handwashing protocol is followed both before and after putting on gloves. Surfaces touched are minimized to avoid spreading anything.
The staff also wears certain clothing to avoid anything being transmitted to the skin by touch or bodily fluids. Masks and eye protection are standard in the industry but have become even more strict with COVID-19. Full-face shields are recommended for all medical professionals. This prevents bodily fluids from either party from getting transmitted to the other one.
Sterilization of Dental Tools and Instruments
This is one of the most crucial things in the dental office. Due to the nature of certain tools, they have to be reused with patients. It’s essential that they’re sterilized properly to avoid any contamination between patients. Heat sterilization is the best form of sterilization. This is used for any high-risk tools, such as those used for surgery or periodontal therapy. Lower-risk tools that are able to handle heat use this form of sterilization as well.
For surfaces that are only slightly in contact with skin, such as a blood pressure cuff or dental chair, these are wiped down between patients with disinfectant. This includes high-traffic areas like the reception desk and items in the waiting room. Other items are disposable, meaning that each patient gets a completely new item.
With COVID-19, extra measures may be taken. Only a limited number of people may be allowed in our waiting room at a time. You may be asked to wait in your car until someone comes to get you. Temperature checks may be done on everyone entering the office. We may request patients sanitize their hands upon entering the building.
Your Dentist in Northern Virginia
Our biggest priority is the safety of you and our staff. Call us or schedule an appointment today!