It’s cold and flu season, so infection control might be on your mind. While you might ramp up your handwashing this time of year, your dental office follows the same precautions all year long. Have you ever wondered how infection control is handled in dental offices? Read on and find out!
Spray Down the Room
After you leave the exam room, your hygienist or assistant will make sure it’s ready for the next patient. Anything that was covered in plastic (such as the seat) will have the plastic changed. Anything that wasn’t will be sprayed down with an antimicrobial sanitizing agent and then wiped with paper towels. This removes any debris and kills bacteria and viruses that might have been left behind.
Change Personal Protective Equipment
Every time a clinical staff member (dentist, hygienist, or assistant) enters your exam room, they will don fresh gloves. The protective equipment is to protect not only the workers but the patients as well! If you don’t see the staff member put on fresh gloves, feel free to ask or to request that they do so in front of you.
Sterilize the Equipment
The instrument and equipment that go into our patients mouths is all sterilized before being put on a tray to use on someone else. We have cold sterilization processes for plastic instruments and hot sterilization processes for glass and metal equipment. Most instruments go through an ultrasonic cleaning procedure first. Then the cold sterilization process includes a solution that the instruments soak in overnight, and the hot sterilization includes a run through the autoclave.
In the dental office, hygiene is not limited to cleaning teeth! Our staff members wash their hands in between patients as well as after using the restroom, after eating, and after leaving the operatory area. Long hair is pulled back and good personal hygiene is expected and enforced. Our goal is to keep everyone healthy, so that includes minimizing bacteria and germs that are introduced into the office in the first place.
If you have questions or concerns about sterilization and sanitization procedures, please don’t hesitate to ask! We would be happy to discuss our processes with you so you can be assured that we take infection control and our patients’ health very seriously.