If you are wondering how your dentist is managing dental practice safety during the COVID-19 pandemic, you’re not alone. Knowing how easy it can be to transmit germs in an environment that requires close proximity between you and your dental team might make you feel uneasy should you require an emergency visit. Fortunately, your dentist is taking additional care to ensure you remain safe during your appointment. From the moment you arrive until you leave to go home, find out what measures are being taken to keep you and staff members healthy.
From Gloves to Masks: Wearing PPE
Nowadays, you cannot turn on the TV without hearing about personal protective equipment (PPE). Hospitals, clinics, dental offices, and other healthcare organizations/businesses are requiring employees to wear the appropriate PPE when conversing with visits and/or colleagues. These include gloves, facial masks and/or shields, a disposable gown, and protective eyewear.
When you arrive, don’t be surprised to find front desk staff wearing face masks and your dental team wearing the full ensemble. This is to better protect you and them from possible contamination.
Keeping It Clean: Sanitize, Disinfect, Repeat
A dentist’s office can never be “too clean,” which is why you can expect there to be an increase in the number of times dental instruments, equipment, and surfaces are cleaned, disinfected, and sanitized. If your dentist is able, they will use items that are designed for single-use only; however, if it is not possible, you can take comfort knowing they will follow the manufacturer’s guidelines for thoroughly sanitizing each instrument before reusing.
Additional Signage: Generating Awareness Among Visitors
From the doors to the windows, your dentist will make sure to have available signage that generates awareness of the changes being made to keep everyone safe. Not only will this ensure everyone is informed of the new protocols, but it will serve as a reminder of how important it is to properly wash your hands, practice social distancing, and stay home if you are feeling sick.
20-Second Rule: Using Proper Handwashing Etiquette
Your dentist and dental team will be using proper handwashing etiquette at all times. By washing with soap and water for 20 seconds, this will lower the risk of transmitting harmful bacteria and/or germs. Staff will be expected to wash after touching anything with their bare hands, before and after putting on gloves and treating a patient, and if hands are soiled.
While these are just a few of the many new guidelines put forth by the CDC, you can rest easy knowing that your dentist is going above and beyond to make your safety and health a priority.
About the Author
Dr. Larry Young earned his Doctor of Dental Surgery degree from Georgetown University School of Dentistry in 1973. After serving in the U.S. Army Dental Corps as a dentist for two years, he moved to Jacksonville in 1975 and opened his practice. Much like other dentists throughout the country, he and his team are following standard protocols to maintain a safe and clean environment for any patient in need of emergency assistance. If you or a loved one need immediate help for a dental injury, don’t be afraid to contact us at (904) 731-9833. We are here to help!