The wellbeing and safety of our patients, our team members, and our community is always our number one priority. We use Standard Precautions for all patient care. Standard precautions are a set of infection control practices used to prevent transmission of diseases that can be acquired by contact with blood, body fluids, non-intact skin (including rashes), and mucous membranes. These CDC guidelines are based on a risk assessment and make use of common-sense practices and personal protective equipment use that protect healthcare providers from infection and prevent the spread of infection from patient to patient. The following infection control protocols are standard practice at our dental office:
Hand Hygiene: Hand hygiene refers to both washing with plain or anti-bacterial soap and water and to the use of alcohol gel to decontaminate hands. Hand hygiene is performed before and after contact with a client, immediately after touching blood, body fluids, non-intact skin, mucous membranes, or contaminated items (even when gloves are worn during contact), immediately after removing gloves, when moving from contaminated body sites to clean body sites during client care, after touching objects and medical equipment in the immediate client-care vicinity, before eating, after using the restroom, and after coughing or sneezing into a tissue as part of respiratory hygiene.
Personal Protective Equipment (PPE): PPE includes items such as gloves, gowns, masks, respirators, and eyewear used to create barriers that protect skin, clothing, mucous membranes, and the respiratory tract from infectious agents. Gloves are when touching blood, body fluids, non-intact skin, mucous membranes, and contaminated items. Surgical mask and goggles or face shields are used if there is a reasonable chance that a splash or spray of blood or body fluids may occur to the eyes, mouth, or nose. Gowns are worn if skin or clothing is likely to be exposed to blood or body fluids. PPE are to be removed in proper order immediately after use and hands washed.
Cleaning & Disinfection: Client care areas, common waiting areas, and other areas where clients may have potentially contaminated surfaces or objects that are frequently touched by staff and clients (doorknobs, sinks, toilets, other surfaces and items in close proximity to clients) are cleaned routinely with EPA registered disinfectants. Housekeeping surfaces such as floors and walls are routinely cleaned with a detergent only or a detergent/disinfectant product. When possible, plastic barriers are used to cover areas or equipment which may come into contact with possible contaminants. Protective barriers are changed and replaced with new barriers between every patient.
Respiratory Hygiene: Measures to avoid spread of respiratory secretions are promoted to help prevent respiratory disease transmission. These include: Covering the nose/mouth with a tissue when coughing or sneezing or using the crook of the elbow to contain respiratory droplets. Using tissues to contain respiratory secretions and discarding in the nearest waste receptacle after use. Performing hand hygiene immediately after contact with respiratory secretions and contaminated objects/materials. Asking clients with signs and symptoms of respiratory illness to wear a surgical mask while waiting common areas or placing them immediately in examination rooms or areas away from others. Provide tissues and no-touch receptacles for used tissue disposal. Spacing seating in waiting areas at least three feet apart to minimize close contact among persons in those areas. Supplies such as tissues, waste baskets, alcohol gel, and surgical masks are provided in waiting and other common areas in local public health agencies.
Waste Disposal: All used sharp instruments, contaminated instruments, single use instruments, contaminated supplies and PPEs are properly disposed of in accordance with the stated guidelines.
Safe Injection Practices: Safe handling of needles and other sharp devices are components of Standard Precautions that are implemented to prevent health care worker exposure to blood borne pathogens.
Sterilization and disinfection of patient-care items and devices: Infection control programs all include the cleaning and sterilization of reusable dental instruments and devices. Non-disposable instruments and equipment are debrided and disinfected prior to placement in sealed packaging and proper sterilization by high heat and pressure in commercial sterilization machines to kill all bacteria, spores, and viruses. Sterilized packages are not opened until needed at the time of treatment. Proper sterilization is routinely verified and certified by submission of samples to third party testing centers.
Specific Precautions Based On The COVID-19 Pandemic
Our practice is open for all services, but business is not as usual. In addition to our routine universal precautions protocols, you may notice some changes in our protocols set in place to minimize the risk of airborne viruses, such as COVID-19. Before your appointment, you will be asked a few COVID-19 related questions to screen for patients who may be at higher risk of disease. We urge you to fill out our online registration to make your contactless chart, and expedite the registration process. On the day of your appointment, we ask you to stay in your car and call us to make sure there is no other patient in the office, and all patient areas and your reserved operatory room is optimally aerated, cleaned, and disinfected for your safety. You may not come in if there is another patient in the office. Once you are cleared to come in, make sure you grab your mask (or ask us for a mask if you do not have one), as masks are required to enter our office, and masks must be worn at all times, except during your treatment period. Once you enter, we ask you to use our provided alcohol based hand sanitizer to disinfect your hands. We then take and record your temperature to make sure you are not running a fever. Then we ask you to be seated behind a disinfected reception desk and computer area to go over your registration and complete the process. During this in person registration, you will be separated from our administrative assistant by a glass partition. Once you are ready to be seen by the doctor, our clinical assistant will escort you to your reserved clean operatory. You will notice many surfaces are covered by clear plastic bags and sticky plastic tapes to be removed and discarded between every patient as part of the disinfection process. You may also hear the "hum" of a HEPA filtered air purifier in your room which circulates the air and traps the most microscopic floating aerosols and particles. Once seated, you will be asked to swish and rinse your mouth with a diluted solution of hydrogen peroxide for 30 seconds. At this point you are ready to be seen by your doctor for evaluation or treatment. Once you are done, you must put your mask back on before going to the front to be checked out. Once you leave the office, our staff will once again clean and disinfected all patient areas to have the office ready for the next patient after you. We gladly go through all these steps for the wellbeing and safety of you and our staff. We are fiduciaries of your health!
TEL: 631. 417. 3636