With COVID-19, dental offices were closed to everything but emergency services for an extended period of time. Now that things are slowly opening back up, we want to ensure patients know that they’re safe when they come to our office for treatment. Dr. Richard Sousa of East Hills Dental Associates, a dentist in Roslyn Heights, NY, explains what we’re doing for infection prevention and control.
Following the CDC and ADA Guidelines
Since 1993, these two agencies have been working together to ensure updated and ideal infection control and sterilization guidelines are in order for the dental industry. They’ve put together a guideline document filled with tools and checklists dental employees can follow to ensure they’re doing the proper procedures.
Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
PPE is essential to protect both the patients and our staff. The most important piece of PPE is a pair of gloves. We make sure, at minimum, gloves are changed between each patient and after touching other surfaces. Gloves may be changed multiple times depending on the dental services a patient is getting. We also ensure that proper handwashing techniques are followed before every pair is put on.
Bibs are given to every patient to avoid bodily fluids getting on their clothing from their procedure. Staff also wear clothing to protect them from this. While eye protection is standard for dental care, COVID-19 has upped the requirement for medical professionals. Full-face shields are worn so that bodily fluids can’t pass from staff to patients or vice versa.
Disinfection and Sterilization
With dental care, sometimes tools have to be reused between patients. For high-risk tools like those used for periodontal therapy and oral surgery, heat sterilization is used after each use of these tools. Heat provides the most effective sterilization. Many lower-risk tools are sterilized with heat as well, as they can handle the high temperatures.
We also have tools and things like polishing toothbrush heads that are disposable. Patients get a brand new tool for their treatment. For surfaces, such as the dental chair and blood pressure cuff, these are thoroughly wiped down with disinfectant. High-traffic areas like the reception desk and waiting room receive this treatment as well.
With COVID-19, protocols are also more extensive. There will be a limited number of people allowed in the waiting room and we may ask you to wait in your car. We’ll ask you specific questions about your medical history that pertain to COVID-19. We’ve also installed high filtration air purifying devices and other devices to make sure our environment is the safest for our patients.
Your Dentist in Roslyn Heights, New York
We want you to know that the safety of both our patients and our staff is our highest priority. Call us or schedule an appointment today!