With COVID-19, dental practices across the country were closed to everything but emergency dental services. Now that things are slowly opening back up, we want to make sure our patients know that their safety is our number one priority. Dr. Kevin Welinsky of Welinsky Dental Care, a dentist in Towson, MD, explains the infection control protocols in place at our office.
Following the CDC and ADA Guidelines
These two agencies have been working together since 1993 on infection control and sterilization techniques for the dental industry. They ensure that techniques are constantly being updated so that the newest and best methods are being used. A CDC document they provide to dental offices offers tools and checklists for dental workers to make sure they’re following all of the correct protocols.
Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
PPE is used to protect both our staff and our patients. Most important for PPE are disposable gloves. Gloves are changed between each patient, as well as after touching services like the computer. Depending on the dental services that are being performed, gloves may be changed multiple times with one patient. Proper handwashing protocols are always followed before putting on each pair of gloves.
Other PPE is also used in the dental industry. Bibs are given to the patient and protective coverings are worn by staff to avoid bodily fluids getting on clothes. Eye protection is always a part of dental worker protocol, but it’s become stricter with COVID-19. Full-face shields are recommended to be worn by medical professionals to eliminate anything passing between patients and staff.
Disinfection and Sterilization Techniques
With the nature of dental procedures, sometimes tools have to be reused between patients. For high-risk tools, like those used for oral surgery or periodontal therapy, heat sterilization is used. This is the best form of sterilization to keep patients safe. For lower-risk tools, this is used for as many of them as possible. Any tool that can withstand high temperatures can be sterilized with heat.
For other tools, disposable ones might be an option. This way, patients know they’re getting something new every time. For surface cleanings, like on blood pressure cuffs and the dental chair, we wipe them down with a disinfectant solution. This is also used in high-traffic areas like the reception desk and surfaces in the waiting room.
COVID-19 has made precautions a bit stricter. We’re limiting the number of people that are allowed in the waiting room at once. We may ask you to wait in your car until we come to get you. Your temperature may be taken in order to enter the office and COVID-19-specific questions may be asked. We may also have you sanitize your hands when you come in.
Your Dentist in Towson, Maryland
We want you to know that your safety is our biggest priority. Call us or schedule an appointment online today!