Many people experience anxiety about visiting the dentist. Sometimes, it is a result of previous experiences at the dental clinic. For some, it is triggered by the concerns about infection control in the dental office.
The dental team takes a host of precautions throughout the day to protect their patients as well as themselves!
Sterilization and other infection control precautions take place. Many of these procedures occur out of your view. Here are some tips on how to talk to your dental team about the infection control procedures in their office.
1. What are universal precautions?
Universal precautions are safety procedures established by the Centers for Disease Control. They are used for each and every patient to prevent the transmission of viruses and other infectious diseases. The precautions require all dental staff involved in patient care to use appropriate protective gear such as gloves and sometimes masks and eye wear. After each patient visit the gloves are discarded, hands are washed and a new pair of gloves is used for the next patient.
2. Do you sterilize the instruments including the hand piece after each patient?
Yes. Also all disposable items such as needles and saliva ejectors (the straw used for ‘vacuuming’ your mouth) which cannot be sterilized are discarded. Dental instruments are cleaned and sterilized at a very high temperature after each use. A steam sterilizer is used in our practice. Please ask any of the dental team to see the sterilizer if you would like.
3. How do you clean and disinfect the examining room and how often is this done?
Before you enter the examining room all surfaces such as the dental chair, dental light, drawer handles and counter tops have been cleaned and decontaminated.
4. Are there other safety measures that you follow?
Our treatment team has been vaccinated with the ‘flu shot’. Vaccinations against other infectious diseases are also kept current by the dental practitioners in our office.
Fee free to ask your dental team any or all of the above questions.