Control in the Dental Office
Infection control in our office is
very important to us. To protect our patients and ourselves, we strictly maintain sterilization and
avoid cross contamination using standards recommended by the American Dental Association (ADA), the Occupational
Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), and the Center for Disease Control (CDC).
We meet and exceed what are called
“universal precautions.” That means we use the protective measures set by the government and the
American Dental Association with each patient to prevent transmission of the virus that causes any infectious
disease. These universal precautions include:
Wearing gloves, masks, and protective eyewear
Washing hands and changing gloves after each
Sterilizing or disinfecting dental instruments after each
Cleaning and disinfecting the surfaces in the treatment
room and equipment after each patient
Disposing of needles and other sharp items in specially
Properly disposing of waste items and contaminated
Some of these precautions are
readily visible to you during a dental visit. You will see the general cleanliness of the office, the
use of masks and gloves, special waste containers, and our frequent hand washing. Other precautions, such as
sterilization and disinfection, are performed before your visit.
Sterilization and Disinfection
Dental offices use various methods
to sterilize and disinfect in order to kill bacteria and viruses. Our staff is well trained in these procedures and
their appropriate use.
There are several acceptable
methods for the sterilization of instruments. For example, instruments that can withstand high
temperatures may be sterilized in a steam autoclave by using steam under pressure or with dry heat in an oven-like
environment called the Chemiclave. Other instruments that cannot be heated are scrubbed clean and then sterilized
or disinfected in chemical solutions. These various methods of sterilization kill the viruses and other microscopic
organisms capable of causing diseases.
We use disinfection procedures for
surfaces and equipment that cannot be removed for cleaning and sterilization such as countertops, drawer handles,
and X-ray unit heads. A chemical agent, registered with the Environmental Protection Agency as a
hospital disinfectant, is used in our dental office. Disinfection is accomplished in the treatment rooms between
patients to assure that the operatory is absolutely clean and sterile for each patient.
The use of disposable items is
another way we maintain a clean and safe office. Many dental materials such as gloves, masks, wipes,
plastic drapes, needles, and scalpel blades are used only once and then disposed of properly.
Your health is our main concern
If you have any concerns, please
feel free to bring them to our attention. We want you to be assured that you are receiving the very
best and safest dental care we can provide. Please remember that your healthy is our number one concern.
by Bernadette, CDA - December 10, 2009
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