I thought that in light of the current situation with ‘Rona I would write about things that we do in the office to help maintain everybody’s health and safety. First, let me say that this is a very fluid situation. As more information is garnered and disseminated, we will continue to change our protocols.
Please know that everything that we use directly for your treatment is either new, steam sterilized, or wrapped with a barrier. Environmental surfaces are disinfected with a hospital-grade disinfectant. We have always prided ourselves in doing our best to assure the cleanliness of each treatment room. We are doing more now.
You may have already noticed that there are fewer patients galavanting around the office than before the scourge descended upon us. More time is allowed per person for their appointment. We do our best to seat people so that there is an unused treatment room between them. All of this allows for more time for us to clean the treatment rooms before the next patient is seated and to maintain “social distancing”. To do a thorough job, this cannot be rushed.
A lot goes on behind the scenes that you do not see. At the completion of treatment, all of the instruments are removed to our instrument clean-up area. The one-use items are tossed. Things that are meant to be reused are first run through a cycle in our ultrasonic cleaner. This removes the gross debris. Each instrument is rinsed and then visually inspected for cleanliness. Groups of instruments particular to a certain procedure are then sealed in an autoclavable pouch. At the appropriate times in our day the autoclave is run. Each pouch has various markers on it that indicate that they went through a complete cycle. Once each week we run a biological marker with one of the cycles. This is evaluated by the OSU Sterilization Monitoring Service. If there is a failure, we are called immediately.
Between patients, counter-tops and work surfaces are cleaned and disinfected. The plastic wraps covering some of our equipment are removed and replaced. Floors are cleaned. None of this is new. This is the way that we have ALWAYS been doing things. These days, we are being more diligent and taking more time.
While I am working I use a device called a rubber dam. Those of you that have had the pleasure of me doing dental treatment for you may remember it. I describe it as a drop-cloth for your mouth. It keeps all of the junk that I use out of your mouth and it prevents saliva from contaminating the area in which I am working. You don’t taste the lousy tasting stuff that I use and we don’t get a face full of saliva. This is an absolute win-win. Yes, it takes some getting used to, but afterwards, you will agree that the benefits outweigh the drawbacks to using it.
High velocity suction is used to try to remove aerosol droplets. We are still trying to figure out a GOOD way to be able to SAFELY use our ultrasonic tooth cleaner, the Cavitron device. It generates a ton of water droplets. We do not want ANY of us (you and us) exposed to any hazards that we might be able to prevent. This is a work in progress. Over time there will be more goodies added to our repertoire. Just wait, You ain’t seen nothing yet.