With COVID-19, dental offices have been closed to everything but emergencies. As things slowly open back up, we want our patients to know our dedication to dental office sterilization and what we’re doing to keep you safe. Dr. Fabrizio Dall’Olmo, a dentist in Santa Monica, CA, explains the sterilization and safety practices that are implemented in our office.
Following the Guidelines of the CDC and ADA
Since 1993, these two agencies have been working together to make sure the infection control and sterilization guidelines for the dental industry are as up to date and efficient as possible. Our office has always followed their protocols. Used widely throughout the industry is a CDC document that gathered tools and checklists for dental workers to ensure they’re following everything properly.
Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
PPE is necessary for the protection of both the staff and the patients. Most importantly, disposable gloves are at the top of the list. Gloves are changed between each patient and when other surfaces are touched, such as the computer. Depending on the dental services being offered, gloves may be changed multiple times while dealing with one patient. Proper handwashing protocol will be followed before each pair of gloves are put on.
Bibs are given to patients and protective clothing is given to staff to make sure bodily fluids don’t get on skin or clothing. Protective eyewear is a standard part of dental PPE. But COVID-19 protocol has made things a bit more restrictive. Medical personnel is supposed to wear full-face shields to ensure nothing passes between the staff and the patients.
Disinfection and Sterilization Processes
Due to the nature of dental work, sometimes tools have to be reused between patients. Thus, it’s important that the highest level of sterilization is used. For high-risk instruments, like those used for oral surgery and periodontal therapy, this means heat sterilization. This is also used for any lower-risk instruments that can withstand the high temperatures needed.
With other instruments, there are disposable options, so patients know that they’re getting something new at the start of their treatment. Surface disinfection is done as well for things like blood pressure cuffs and the dental chair. These are wiped down with a quality disinfectant. This is also done in high-traffic areas like the reception desk and waiting room surfaces.
There are some extra precautions that come along with COVID-19. For starters, we won’t be allowing too many people in the waiting room at one time. We may ask that you wait in your car until we come to get you. Temperature checks and COVID-19-specific health questions may be required to enter the office. You may also be required to sanitize your hands when you come inside.
Your Dentist in Santa Monica, California
We want you to know that your safety is our top priority. That’s why we sterilize our dental office thoroughly. Call us or schedule an appointment online!