For years, dental offices have taken steps to protect patients and dental health care team members against disease transmission during treatment. You may see some changes from the minute you walk in the door. These changes protect you, the patient, our providers, and the community at large.
Coughing and sneezing can spread germs. For that reason, you should cover your mouth and nose whenever you cough or sneeze. With the presence of COVID-19, we now require patients to comply with the legislative ruling and wear a facemask when entering our building. If you do not have a mask, we will provide one.
Clean hands are also important. We provide hand sanitizer when you enter and exit building. Avoid touching your face. To use sanitizer, you must lather hands and allow to dry. This sometimes takes several minutes. Frequent handwashing is one way to reduce exposure.
Physical distancing is critical. Please be aware of your proximity to others and abide by distancing notifications.
We ask if you receive a diagnosis of COVID that you notify our office if you have been a patient within 48 hours of your symptoms. This allows us to alert our providers that possible exposure took place. Please know that the virus may be anywhere and it is very difficult to determine source of infection. The better you protect yourself in all situations, the less your likelihood of exposure is.
IN THE RECEPTION AREA
Since the pandemic, we limit the number of people in the reception area by using a software which allows patients to text the office at (734) 676-1333 and be notified when it is appropriate to enter the office. We now ask that only the patient or patient and guardian enter the reception area. Magazines, books, and toys have been removed from the reception area and physical distancing labels have been placed. The reception area has an accelerated cleaning schedule, being cleaned multiple times a day. You will notice sneeze shields at the front desk as well as physical distancing labels on floor. Payment is a contactless as possible. We have removed baskets of give-a-ways, although we may offer you an option to receive a pen or calendar.
- Each patient is required to wear a facemask while in the building, except when dentistry being performed.
- Each patient will be asked to complete a COVID exposure checklist and will also have their temperature taken. Those with known exposure or symptoms will be asked to return after a specific waiting time with a negative COVID test result and no symptoms.
- Each patient and accompanying guardian or caretaker will have their temperature taken.
- Patients will be required to rinse with a hydrogen peroxide based pre-rinse, which is known to decrease the viral load.
IN THE CLINIC
You may have heard about personal protective equipment (commonly referred to as PPE), which consists of different equipment that dental care providers wear to protect them from germs spread through blood, saliva, or airborne particles. Examples of this equipment includes gloves, jackets, gowns, safety glasses, and face masks that cover the nose and mouth. For some treatments, face shields may also be worn. Most of these items are disposable and used for only 1 patient and thrown away after use. Those that are not disposable must be cleaned with disinfectant between patients. JSP Dental follows the guidelines and laws presented by the Center for Disease Control as well as MIOSHA.
Other surfaces in the treatment area, like chairs, counter-tops, blood pressure cuffs and light handles, must also be disinfected between patients. We do this currently and we have always done this. We have also installed special HEPA filtration units and completed evaluation of airflow within the office. You may notice providers wearing fresh air helmets, which provide circulating air and prevent fogging. You will also notice scrubs are being worn and sometimes disposable surgical gowns. All employees wear masks and providers wear hair coverings. Shoes and scrubs are never worn as streetwear and are worn only in office.
BEHIND THE SCENES
Rest assured, any instruments used during your treatment must be clean. Some, like the tube used to suck saliva from your mouth, are disposable. Instruments that are not disposable are handled care-fully after every patient. After your treatment, these instruments are taken to a special area to be washed, sorted into sets for the next use, and put in a special oven called an autoclave to expose them to high heat designed to kill germs. Such units are tested weekly for efficacy. Even the quality of the water used during your dental treatment must be monitored. Water from the dental unit must be the same quality as drinking water. To achieve this, a dental office may use water from a source other than the public water system or may treat the water system. Regardless of where the water comes from, your dental office must check the quality regularly and comply with annual inspections.
CONCLUSION Dentists conscientiously work hard to keep patients safe during their visits. These are only some of the preventive techniques dentists take to reduce the risk of infection. If you have questions about infection control, ask your dentist or the dental team members.
Your dental health relates to the health of your entire body. We urge you to keep your appointments and to maintain optimal dental health to reduce the chance of pain, infection, and emergency dental work that might be prevented through regular preventive care.