How We’re Keeping Our Dental Patients Safe From Coronavirus
With so much information floating around about COVID-19, we imagine you may have some questions about visiting a dental office right now. Understandable! The health and well-being of our patients and staff have always been, and continues to be, our top priority. While we all are doing our part to minimize the spread of this infection by staying at home, Dr. Brody is available to address your dental concerns via our new teledentistry service which will help us determine if an emergency visit to the office is necessary. To ensure your safety and continued health during dental treatment we want to share with you the precautions we are taking to do just that.
Patient Safety Measures
Due to the nature of our work, our team is potentially exposed to health issues on a daily basis, things like infections, flu, hepatitis, and HIV, as well as both mental health and stress challenges. That’s good news for you because it means we are in the unique position of already being well prepared to ensure the safety of our patients and our team during this outbreak as well.
It’s the procedures that are already part of our everyday routine, our standard sterilization and infection control practices that exceed all state and federal guidelines, that will also prevent the spread of coronavirus. With the recent outbreak, we’ve introduced some additional layers of protection:
• Double wiping treatment areas and common countertops, doors, and restrooms after each patient, and hourly regardless of patient volume.
• Minimizing any potential aerosol creation during dental treatment.
• Taking each patient’s temperature (by digital forehead scan)
• Having patients rinse with an antibacterial/antiviral mouthwash before treatment.
• Removing of all magazines from the office to prevent the spread of disease
Guidance From The CDC
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has issued guidance for dental practices. As a result, we’ve added the following extra precautions.
• Screening all patients for recent travel and asking for dates
• Adhering to respiratory hygiene/cough etiquette infection control measures to help prevent the transmission of all respiratory infections
• Adhering to the American Dental Association’s informational handout for dentists on coronavirus COVID-19.
• Monitoring updates on the CDC’s coronavirus infection control page for healthcare professionals.
While we can’t predict when the pandemic will be over, we can tell you that whenever that is, we’ll be prepared to help you and your family with all of your dental needs. To ensure your safety, the enhanced guidelines that we’ve recently introduced will become our new normal. Until then, we urge you to do your part to flatten the curve and of course, to reach out to us at 303-688-2229 if you have any concerns with your dental health.
Frequently Asked Questions
What does the everyday routine you mention look like?
There are strict state and federal guidelines in place to ensure safety within dental practices and our STANDARD sterilization and infection control practices already exceed all state and federal guidelines. These safety measures include, but are not limited to:
• Use of personal protective equipment including mask, eye protection and gloves
• Sterilization of instruments before and after every use
• Use of plastic barriers on frequently touched objects (lights, x-rays) and replacement of these barriers after each patient
• Total wipedown of treatment rooms with OSHA approved disinfectant
• Daily monitoring and weekly testing of sterilization equipment
• Monthly testing of dental water lines
Do you use new gloves with every patient?
Yes, absolutely, and sometimes multiple pairs. Prior to any treatment, we wash our hands before putting on gloves. If a glove is torn or defective it is replaced immediately. Also, we remove gloves before exiting the room, and always replace them upon reentering a new or previous room. With the uptick in allergies, we have started using nonlatex gloves.
Do you disinfect the surfaces in the treatment rooms between patients?
Yes, wiping down the treatment room is a part of our regular routine. Using an OSHA approved disinfectant, every treatment room (the countertops, the chairs, the armrests, and any other surface that could be touched) gets wiped down in the morning, and multiple times throughout the day – before and after every patient and then again at the end of the day. In addition, we use plastic barriers on surfaces that gloves might touch (like the lights, x-rays, cameras) and these plastic barriers are changed out before treating any patient.
How do you test the sterilizer?
Our clinical protocols include a heat-sensitive test that is placed on the outside of each sterile instrument wrapper as well as a special spore test that is placed in the sterilizer and tested every week by an independent testing agency. We track those results and replace any equipment that is found to not be working up to our standards immediately.
What about the water?
We test our water lines monthly and use OSHA approved disinfectants in each water line to ensure the water lines are safe. Where can I find reliable information?
• WHO coronavirus website and answers to frequently asked questions
• WHO coronavirus mythbusters page
• CDC coronavirus website and answers to frequently asked questions
• Harvard Health Publishing’s Coronavirus Resource Center