April 17, 2020
Everyone needs regular dental care to have a healthy smile, and that hasn’t changed during the COVID-19 pandemic. But, understandably, you may be wondering how dental offices are staying clean and sanitized or feel concerned about exposure to the virus. Rest assured that dentists complete extensive training in a wide number of areas, including sanitation and sterilization, to keep their patients, staff, and themselves safe from all types of infection. These strict protocols come from the Centers For Disease Control and are used for (and in between) every patient, regardless of whether they’re suspected of having an illness or not. Keep reading to learn about the many ways a dentist in Corpus Christi will keep you safe during your appointments so you can get the treatment you need without worry!
Many tools in the dental office are single-use, but the metal instruments are thoroughly cleaned and sterilized in a process that requires multiple steps. First, they’re put into an ultrasonic cleaner and rinsed. Then they’re put into a high-heat autoclave that sterilizes them by killing all viruses and bacteria.
Stringent Hand Hygiene
Dental staff members have always washed their hands well with soap and water frequently throughout the day (between each patient, each time they remove their gloves, and after cleaning a treatment room). Now, patients are also asked to either wash their hands or use hand sanitizer as soon as they enter the office.
Frequently Disinfecting Surfaces
At home, you may be trying to disinfect surfaces that are touched often such as door knobs, light switches, etc. Dentistshave always used professional strength antiseptic wipes (designed for healthcare settings) to clean chairs, countertops, door handles, lights, keyboards, and more, and continue to do so now.
Cough Etiquette For Both Patients and Staff
Staff and patients are encouraged to practice good respiratory etiquette when they cough or sneeze by using a tissue or their hand or elbow and washing their hands afterward.
Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
PPE has always been an essential part of dental office safety and sanitation, and staff members wear everything from disposable gloves, masks, eyewear, and protective clothing throughout the day.
Safe Injection Protocol
When a dentist administers an injection, the needles and anesthetic containers are all single-use items, so each one is used for only one patient. Then they’re disposed of in puncture-resistant biohazard containers to ensure that no one else comes into contact with these materials.
All of these protocols are very effective at preventing the spread of infection. While you may feel concerned about being exposed to COVID-19 if you need to see a dentist right now, rest assured that a dental office is one of the cleanest places you could be!
About the Author
Dr. John T. Thompson has been a dentist in Corpus Christi for more than 35 years. He and his staff have always been committed to cleanliness and sanitation, and have put additional protocols in place since the COVID-19 pandemic began. If you’d like to know more about infection control in his office or have any questions, you can reach Dr. Thompson via his website.
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