Due to COVID-19, dental practices were closed to everything but emergency services. Now that things are slowly opening back up, dental practices are able to perform normal procedures again. We want to make sure our patients know that they’ll be safe in our office. Dr. Shawna Hoffert of Red Maple Dental, a dentist in Asheville, NC, provides the protocols our office will be following.
Following the CDC and ADA Guidelines
These two agencies have been working together since 1993 to create and consistently update infection control and sterilization guidelines for the dental industry. Together, they make sure that the best techniques are followed by dental practices across the country. In particular, a CDC document features checklists and tools that are able to be used by dental personnel to ensure the right protocols are being followed at all times.
Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
PPE is a necessity to protect both patients and staff. The most important component is probably disposable gloves. These are changed between each patient and after staff touch something like the computer. Depending on the dental services being performed, they may be changed multiple times with the same patient. Proper handwashing protocols are followed before the gloves are put on. They’re changed often to ensure cleanliness and safety.
Protective bibs are given to patients and protective clothing is given to staff to make sure bodily fluids don’t get on clothing or skin. Eye protection is another component that’s always used by dental personnel. However, COVID-19 has increased the protection recommended for medical personnel. A full-face shield is worn to ensure no contaminants pass between patients and staff.
Disinfection and Sterilization Techniques
Due to the nature of some dental procedures, it’s necessary for certain dental tools to be reused. High-risk tools, like those used for oral surgery and periodontal therapy, require the highest level of sterilization. Therefore, heat is used for these items. Lower-risk tools often use heat sterilization as well, for those that are able to handle high temperatures.
There are also dental tools that are disposable. Patients know that they’re getting a new set at the start of their session with the dentist. For cleaning surfaces, such as blood pressure cuffs and the dental chair, they’re thoroughly wiped down with a disinfectant. This is also a process used in high-traffic areas like the reception desk and surfaces throughout the waiting room.
With COVID-19, stricter measures are being followed. Things are being cleaned as often as possible. We’re limiting the number of people that are allowed in the waiting room at one time. We may ask you to wait in your car until we come to get you. Temperature checks and COVID-19 questionnaires may need to be done before entering the office. We may also require you to sanitize your hands when you enter the building.
Your Dentist in Asheville, North Carolina
We’re excited to be able to see the smiling faces of our patients again. Call us or schedule an appointment online today!