COVID-19 led to many dental practices being closed to everything but emergency dentistry. Now that things are slowly opening back up, patients may be cautious about coming back to the dental office. Dr. Brian Sang of Palmetto Smiles, a dentist in Florence, SC, discusses how we do dental sterilization at Palmetto smiles to ensure patient safety.
Following the CDC and ADA Guidelines
These two agencies have worked together since 1993, crafting and constantly updating sterilization and disinfection guidelines for the dental industry. A 2016 guide provides all dentists with checklists and tools that ensure that dentists are following all of the proper protocols. With COVID-19, we’re also following the stricter guidelines set by these agencies to make sure both patients and staff are safe.
Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
PPE is for the benefit of both the staff and the patients. One of the most important items is a pair of gloves. These are changed between every patient. Depending on the dental services that are being performed, they may also be changed multiple times during one patient. Touching other surfaces while wearing gloves is limited. Proper handwashing techniques are also followed before putting on each pair.
In addition, we provide bibs for patients to avoid any bodily fluid getting anywhere else on your body. Eye covering has always been a part of our PPE. However, with COVID-19, full-face shields are recommended for every medical professional. Since they cover everything, they can eliminate any contamination going from patient to staff and vice versa.
Sterilization and Disinfection
Due to the nature of dentistry, some tools have to be reused between patients. This is why the highest level of sterilization is required and respected. For high-risk tools like those for oral surgery or periodontal therapy, heat is used for sterilization. This is the best way to sterilize. Many lower-risk tools are also sterilized with heat. Most of them are made to withstand high temperatures.
For other equipment, Palmetto Smiles offers disposable options. This way each patient knows that they’re getting something new every time. For places that just have surface contact, such as a blood pressure cuff or dental chair, they’ll be wiped down with disinfectant. This is true for high-traffic areas as well, such as the reception desk and waiting room.
There may be additional precautions that are now taken with this virus. The number of people allowed in the waiting room will be limited. You may have to wait in the car for us to come to get you. Temperature checks may now be required upon entering the building. You may also be asked to sanitize your hands when you’re coming in.
Your Dentist in Florence, South Carolina
We want you to know that your safety and the safety of our staff are our highest priorities. Call us or schedule your appointment online!