How we protect you
In this era of media coverage and public concern about the hazards of infectious diseases, we feel that you should be aware of the numerous procedures we perform for infection control in dentistry to prevent disease transmission in our office. A portion of this commitment involves adoption of guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and American Dental Association as well as regulations from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). The remainder we adopted voluntarily for added protection. Each of these procedures for infection control in dentistry protects you as much as they protect our staff who have a much greater occupational exposure to pathologic agents. We are very proud and pleased with the safety our infection control program provides us with and, after reading the following, we are sure that you will be as well.
You may be surprised to learn that the most frequently performed procedures in my office aren’t six-month check-ups or even placing fillings in teeth. The most common procedures we perform are those related to infection control. This is called applying “universal precautions”. These universal precautions are the same for every patient and they include:
- Wearing gloves, masks, gowns, glasses and/or face shields
- Washing hands before and after donning gloves.
- Changing gloves between patients and during treatment as necessary to avoid contamination.
- Using as many instruments and other items that can be disposed of after each use as feasible.
- Sterilizing all non-disposable instruments that can withstand the heat of sterilization.
- Disinfecting the few items that cannot withstand sterilization with antimicrobial chemicals. (The disinfectants we use have been tested and approved by the appropriate governmental agency, eg. the Environmental Protection Agency).
What We Do:
We protect our office environment by asking patients with colds, the flu, etc. within 24 hours of their visit to reschedule their appointment for a time when they are not ill or infectious. Also, before a patient enters any of our treatment rooms:
- The plastic coverings from the dental chair, delivery unit, air/water syringe and light handles are disposed of.
- The dental chair, delivery unit and tubing, air/water syringe and light handles are cleaned and disinfected with antimicrobial chemicals.
- New plastic coverings are placed over the dental chair, delivery unit, air/water syringe and light handles.
- All disposable instruments and other items are disposed of.
- All sterilizable instruments are cleaned, bagged and then sterilized.
- All items, which cannot be sterilized, are disinfected.
- New and/or sterile instruments, sealed in their sterilization pouches, are set out and used to provide treatment.
An independent sterilizer monitoring service tests the autoclave that sterilizes our instruments every week to ensure complete sterilization of our instruments.
Everyone in our office takes the responsibility of your health and safety very seriously. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to call us before your next visit, or talk with us during your visit. We will be happy to address any concerns you may have about infection control in dentistry and our infection control procedures.