Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, dental practices have been closed for everything but emergency dentistry. Now that things are slowly opening back up, we’re able to offer a full range of dental services. We want patients to know that they can be safe in our practice. Dr. Sahil Goyal of Laurel Smiles Dental Care, a dentist in Laurel, MD, goes over the infection control and sterilization protocols that are in place at our office.
Following the CDC and ADA Guidelines
These two agencies have been working together since 1993 to create and implement infection control and sterilization standards for the dental industry. They’re constantly being updated to ensure that the latest technology is use and the latest techniques are being followed. A CDC document provides dental workers with tools and checklists to make sure they’re following the proper protocols.
Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
PPE is a necessity for keeping both patients and staff safe. One of the most important components of PPE is disposable gloves. Gloves are changed between patients and when surfaces like the computer are touched. Depending on the dental services being performed, gloves may be changed multiple times with one patient to ensure cleanliness. Proper handwashing techniques are followed before the gloves are put on.
Bibs are given to patients and protective coverings are given to staff to keep bodily fluids off of skin and clothing. Eye protection is another important part of PPE for dental workers. With COVID-19, you may notice more intense precautions. It’s been recommended that medical personnel wear full-face shields to make sure that nothing passes between the patients and staff.
Disinfection and Sterilization Techniques
Due to the nature of many dental procedures, dental tools have to sometimes be reused between patients. This means that the highest standard of sterilization must be used. For high-risk tools, like those used for oral surgery and periodontal therapy, this means heat sterilization. Lower-risk tools that can withstand the high temperatures also get treated this way.
Other dental tools may be completely disposable or have crucial parts that are. Patients can know that they’re getting something new at the beginning of their appointment. For surface sterilization, like on blood pressure cuffs and dental chairs, a disinfectant solution is used to thoroughly wipe them down. This is done for high-traffic areas, too, like the reception desk and surfaces in the waiting room.
With COVID-19, some further precautions may be taken. We’re trying to limit the number of people in our waiting room at one time. We may ask you to call us when you get here so we can come out to get you. Temperature checks and COVID-19 questionnaires may be required to be completed before entering the office. Hand sanitizer will also be provided upon entry.
Your Dentist in Laurel, Maryland
We’re ready to see the smiling faces of our patients again! Call us or schedule an appointment online.