Due to COVID-19, most dental practices have been closed to everything but emergency dental services. Slowly, places are starting to open up and dental offices have been allowed to resume other services. At Foxhall Smiles, we want to make sure our patients know that their safety is our top priority. Dr. Joseph Catanzano, a dentist in Washington DC, provides information on our office’s infection control and sterilization policies.
Complying With the CDC and ADA Guidelines
These two agencies have been working together since 1993 to make sure that infection control and sterilization guidelines are set for the dental industry. They’re continuously updated to ensure the latest techniques and technologies are being used. A CDC document is provided for dental workers that contains tools and checklists so that they can make sure the proper protocols are being followed.
Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
PPE is necessary for the safety of both staff and patients. One of the most important components of PPE is disposable gloves. Gloves are changed between patients and when surfaces like the computer are touched. Depending on the dental services being provided, gloves may be changed multiple times with the same patient to ensure cleanliness. Proper handwashing techniques are followed before gloves are put on.
Patients are given bibs and staff has protective coverings to avoid getting bodily fluids on clothing or skin. Eye protection is another standard part of dental PPE. With COVID-19, though, medical personnel are recommended to be wearing more. You may see dental staff with full-face shields to ensure nothing is passing between patients and staff.
Disinfection and Sterilization Techniques
Due to the nature of certain dental procedures, it’s necessary for some dental tools to be reused between patients. This means that they have to be sterilized at the highest level available. For high-risk tools, like those used for oral surgery or periodontal therapy, this means sterilizing them with heat. Lower-risk tools that are able to withstand the high temperatures of heat sterilization use this as well.
For other dental tools, they’re fully disposable or have crucial parts that are disposable. This lets patients know they’re getting something new at the beginning of their appointment. For sterilizing surfaces, like blood pressure cuffs or dental chairs, they’re fully wiped down with a disinfectant solution. This is also done for high-traffic areas like the reception desk and surfaces in the waiting room.
COVID-19 requires some stricter precautions. We’re limiting the number of people allowed in the waiting room at one time. We may have you call us when you get here and we’ll come to the parking lot to get you. Temperature checks and COVID-19 questionnaires may need to be completed before you’re allowed entry. Hand sanitizing may also be required when you enter the office.
Your Dentist in Washington DC
We want our patients to know that we make their safety our highest priority. Call us or schedule an appointment online!