The coronavirus disease has become a public health emergency and pandemic. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the American Dental Association (ADA) recommend dental offices across the country practice infection control measures to prevent the spread of the virus and minimize cross-infection. You should establish a dental office protocol that will minimize the coronavirus impact and ensure the safety and health of your patients, staff, and community.
Following the recent COVID-19 update, you can implement these dental office infection control measures to maintain a healthy and safe treatment environment for your patients.
Equipment and Instrument Cleaning
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has recommendations for dental equipment and instruments cleaning and disinfecting. Depending on the risk of infection transmission, equipment, and tools can be classified into three categories, which include non-critical, semi-critical, and critical.
Non-critical instruments are those that touch the skin, including blood pressure cuffs, X-ray sensors, or pulse oximeters. These dental instruments can be reused after cleaning and disinfecting with a low-level or intermediate-level disinfectant. An intermediate-level disinfectant is more effective at killing the bacteria and viruses compared to a low-level disinfectant.
Semi-critical instruments are those that can transmit the infection through mucous membranes, which include dental filling condensers, mirrors, and reusable impression trays. These instruments should be properly dried and heat sterilized after each use.
Critical instruments are those that come into contact with saliva, blood, and are used to penetrate soft tissue or bone, which include forceps, scalpels, bone chisels, and scalers. These instruments should be quickly autoclaved or dry heat sterilized after each use.
Also, you and your staff should follow proper hand hygiene to prevent the spread of the virus to your patients. Wash your hands with a disinfectant:
After using your hands to touch equipment that may be contaminated by blood, saliva, and other secretions or bodily fluids
Before wearing gloves and immediately after removing them
Before and after every treatment
If your hands are visibly dirty
Office Cleanliness and Surface Contamination
The CDC recommends dental offices to clean and disinfect their housekeeping and clinical contact surfaces. Housekeeping surfaces include walls, sinks, and floors. These surfaces should be regularly cleaned and sanitized. Clinical contact surfaces include faucet handles, light switches, countertops, drawers, chairs, tables, and other items that patients or dentists touch during procedures or treatments. These surfaces should be cleaned between every patient using an EPA-registered hospital disinfectant.
Team Education and Training
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that dental offices offer continuous education and training to their staff to ensure procedures and policies are properly followed and practiced correctly.
Practicing infection control measures in your dental office is important to ensure continued access to oral care and treatments to your patients in a safe and protected environment, even during the COVID-19 pandemic.
After the recent COVID-19 update, at Plaza Dental Group, we are following all these infection control measures to create a safe treatment environment for our patients. Schedule an in-person or telehealth appointment with us for all your dental care needs.