Due to COVID-19, dental practices across the country were closed to everything but emergency services. Now, things are slowly opening up and dental offices are able to start serving patients again. At Pediatric Dentistry of Winter Park, we want our patients to know that their safety is our top priority. Dr. Allie Miller, a dentist in Winter Park, FL, details the infection control and sterilization measures we followed previously, as well as new additions for COVID-19.
Following the Guidelines of the CDC and ADA
These two agencies have been working together since 1993 to develop and update infection control and sterilization guidelines for the dental industry. They work consistently to make sure the newest technology is used and the most updated techniques are being implemented. A CDC document is available that contains tools and checklists for dental workers to ensure they’re following the proper protocols.
Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
PPE is necessary for the safety of both our patients and our staff. Most importantly, disposable gloves are used in exam rooms. Gloves are changed between patients and when surfaces like the computer are touched. Depending on the dental services being performed, gloves may be changed multiple times with the same patient. Proper handwashing protocols are performed before gloves are put on.
Patients are given bibs and dental workers have coveralls or other protective wear to protect clothing and skin from bodily fluids. Eye protection is always part of a dental worker’s gear. However, with COVID-19, you may see some more serious protective gear than normal. It’s recommended that medical personnel wear full-face shields to ensure nothing spreads between patients and staff.
Disinfection and Sterilization Techniques
Due to the nature of dental work, it’s necessary that some dental tools be reused between patients. This requires the highest level of sterilization. For high-risk tools, like those used for periodontal therapy, heat sterilization is used. This method is also used for lower-risk tools that can withstand high temperatures. We want to make sure everything is as clean as possible.
For some other dental tools, they’re either fully disposable or have disposable parts. This lets you know that your child is getting something new at the beginning of the appointment. For surface sterilization, like blood pressure cuffs or dental chairs, we thoroughly wipe them down with disinfectant. This is also administered on high-traffic surfaces like the reception desk and surfaces in the waiting room.
With COVID-19, additional precautions are being followed. We’ll ask you and your child questions and will conduct temperature checks before you’re admitted into the office. We’re reducing the number of people in the waiting room and you may be asked to wait in the car momentarily. Please only allow one parent to accompany children and bring a mask to wear while in the office. We’ll also ask you both to sanitize your hands upon entering.
Your Child’s Dentist in Winter Park, Florida
We want you to know that the safety of you and your children is our top priority. We’re ready to see the smiling faces of our patients in the office again! Call us or schedule an appointment online.