How to Practice Infection Control in Your Dental Office Effectively
To ensure high-quality oral care in a comfortable environment, dental offices should practice effective infection control measures. The need for dental office infection control is even more vital for the health and safety of your patients during global pandemics like the current COVID-19 outbreak. Dental offices should make sure to follow infection control guidelines outlined by the American Dental Association and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC).
Dental Office Infection Control: Equipment and Instrument Cleaning
You should follow guidelines outlined by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to clean and disinfect dental equipment and instruments. The equipment and tools are categorized into three sets based on the risk of infection transmission: non-critical, semi-critical, and critical.
Non-critical instruments, like x-ray sensors, pulse oximeters, or blood pressure cuffs, are those that come into contact with external skin. These instruments can be reused between patients after receiving intermediate-level disinfection using hospital disinfectants that kill bacteria and viruses.
Semi-critical instruments, such as mirrors, reusable impression trays, and dental fillings condensers, are items that come into contact with mucous membranes like the inside of your cheeks or non-dry skin. These instruments should be dry heat sterilized after each use.
Critical instruments, like scalpels, scalers, bone chisels, and forceps, come into contact with blood and saliva or are used to penetrate bone or soft tissue. These tools should be sterilized after each use by dry heat or heat/chemical vapor and autoclaving.
The recent COVID-19 updates has highlighted the importance of handwashing as an effective dental office infection control measure. It prevents the spread of viruses to patients and among co-workers. Make sure to use gloves and wash hands after seeing each patient.
Office Cleanliness and Surface Contamination
According to the CDC, dental offices contain two types of surfaces: housekeeping and clinical contact surfaces. Housekeeping surfaces such as sinks, floors, and walls can be cleaned using water and detergent solution. Clinical contact surfaces include light switches, drawer and faucet handles, chairs, countertops, or other items that a patient or dentist could come into contact during a procedure. These should be cleaned with an EPA-registered hospital disinfectant.
Team Education and Training
Dental offices should also make sure to provide education and training for their staff to ensure that the CDC recommendations are followed and practiced. With infection control measures in practice, you can continue to provide emergency oral care to your patients even during the COVID-19 pandemic.
After the recent COVID-19 update, dental office infection control has become more important as it can minimize the risk of infection spread among patients, dental staff, and dentists. If you need an urgent treatment through telehealth or in-person appointment, contact us for all your oral care needs.