As the country attempts to make the transition to normal, medical practitioners need to be careful about reopening their practices in a safe manner so that their patients are protected from COVID-19. Nowhere is that more true than at your dentist’s office, where there are concerns of the virus being transferred via the aerosol that is produced over the course of many procedures. But before you start worrying “Is it still safe to see the dentist near me?”, know that dental practices already had strict sanitation protocols in places, and even tougher practices have been adopted for these uncertain times. Read on to learn about 5 COVID-19 precautions your dentist in Midland is taking.
1. Excellent Hand Hygiene
Obviously, keeping your hands clean is vital when working with peoples’ mouths. The CDC recommends that dentists wash their hands before and after every treatments as well as after they’ve touched any instruments or materials that are likely to have been contaminated by natural fluids in some way. An alcohol-based hand rub is usually used to kill unseen bacteria and viruses (including COVID-19), but soap and water are sometimes necessary if the hands are visibly soiled, such as by blood.
2. Wearing Protective Equipment
A dentist should always be wearing gloves when working in your mouth. They also need special clothing and protective face gear to stop body fluids from coming into contact with their mouth, nose, and eye protection. This equipment needs to be removed before leaving the work area.
3. Equipment Sterilization
Every instrument or device that’s placed in or near your mouth needs to be completely sterilized before it’s used for another patient. A trained professional is in charge of cleaning and disinfecting the equipment, and they will always follow specific steps for doing so. For example, the scalers used for gum disease therapy should always be disinfected with heat due to the high risk they carry of inadvertently transferring an infection.
4. Environmental Control
The surfaces in the dental practice most likely to be contaminated (specifically areas such as the handles for the lights, the bracket trays, and the switches on certain machines) need to be cleaned frequently. Your dentist will perform the cleaning using special hospital disinfectants or other products that have been designed to be used in a health care setting. Each facility also needs to have procedures in place for getting rid of potentially infectious materials as soon as possible. Air scrubbers have been placed in the dental operatories to clean the air every hour.
With the right precautions in place and the proper procedures being followed at all times, your dentist can continue bringing your smile the preventive and emergency care it needs while making sure that COVID-19 and other illnesses aren’t spread between patients – or to themselves!
About the Author
Born and raised in Midland, Dr. Robert E. Christensen has been bringing his high-quality brand of dentistry to his hometown for over 40 years. Having completed numerous continuing education courses, he brings his patients a wide variety of safe, effective services that will help their smiles last for years. To ask for an appointment or the anti-COVID-19 practices that he employs, get in touch with Dr. Christensen through his website or by calling (432) 684-7424.