At Nebraska Family Dentistry, we know that our patients put their trust in us to provide a safe and healthy atmosphere and operate with the highest standards of dental office infection control where they can receive the dental treatment they need. Part of our responsibility to our patients is providing the highest standards of dental office infection control to protect the health of our patients. It is important to us that our patients feel safe and well-cared for in our offices. At any of Nebraska Family Dental offices in Lincoln, we maintain a high standard of cleanliness and follow the infection control guidelines recommended by the American Dental Association and the Centers for Disease Control. When you come to any of our dental locations, you can be assured that your overall health and well-being is our major concern.
Dental Office Infection Control: Equipment and Instrument Cleaning
The best dentist offices follow very specific guidelines outlined by The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) about how dental equipment and instruments should be properly disinfected and cleaned. Equipment and tools are classified and put into one of three categories based upon the risk of infection transmission: non-critical, semi-critical, and critical.
Non-critical instruments are those that touch intact skin, only. Those instruments can be items such as x-ray sensors, pulse oximeters, or blood pressure cuffs. These particular instruments can be re-used between patients after receiving a low-level or intermediate-level disinfection. Low-level disinfectants are classified as hospital disinfectants but are not qualified to kill the same variety of pathogens as an intermediate-level disinfectant. An intermediate-level disinfectant is classified as a hospital disinfectant or “tuberculocidal,” which means that it specifically targets and kills the bacteria that causes tuberculosis as well as a host of other bacteria and viruses.
Semi-critical instruments are those that come into contact with mucous membranes such as the inside of your cheeks or non-dry skin. These instruments include mirrors, reusable impression trays, and dental fillings condensers. They should also be dry heat sterilized after each use.
Critical instruments in dental office infection control would include those that encounter blood and are used to penetrate bone or soft tissue. Tools that are covered under this classification are scalpels, scalers, bone chisels, and forceps. Critical instruments need to be sterilized after each use. Acceptable methods of sterilization include dry heat or heat/chemical vapor and autoclaving.
The best dentist offices have extremely high standards of dental office infection control, because they know that it is crucial to protect the health of patients as well as staff members. There are other areas in the office that you should be aware of as a patient when you visit a medical or dental provider.
The first area is, hand washing, which is very important in helping to prevent the spread of diseases to patients and amongst co-workers within the dental office as well. An alcohol-based hand sanitizing solution can be used in all cases except for when hands are covered in visible dirt or debris, according to the CDC. Any dental professional with hands that are visibly soiled must wash using both soap and water. Under these four conditions, hand hygiene should always be performed as recommended by the CDC:
- After the dentist uses his/her bare hands to touch equipment that may be contaminated by saliva, blood, and or some other secretions or bodily fluids.
- Before and after the treatment of every patient and if possible, in front of the patient.
- Before putting on gloves as well as immediately after they are removed.
- Dentist (or any other dental professional) that has visibly soiled hands.
Dental Office Infection Control: Office Cleanliness and Surface Contamination
The best dentist offices give attention to not only the dental instruments and equipment, but also to all other aspects of the clinic itself. According to information from the CDC, dental offices contain two types of surfaces: housekeeping surfaces and clinical contact surfaces.
Sinks, floors, and walls are all examples of what would be considered housekeeping surfaces. Research does indicate that they offer very little if any chance of contamination and they can also be cleaned on a regular basis with water and detergent. Of all the housekeeping surfaces, the CDC says that floors should be cleaned the most regularly for best dental office infection control.
Clinical contact surfaces include things such as light switches, drawer and faucet handles, chairs, countertops, or other items that a patient or dentist might touch during a procedure. If not protected by barriers, which include bags, plastic wrap, and sheets, clinical contact surfaces should be cleaned between every patient with an EPA-registered hospital disinfectant.
Dental Office Infection Control: Team Education and Training
The best dentist offices maintain training records for safety and dental office infection control just like any other business, which is required by the federal and state governments. The best dentist offices should offer continuing/ongoing education and training to all employees to make sure policies and procedures are followed and practiced correctly. The CDC also recommends that when training, it covers safety guidelines for both employees as well as patients.
Dental office infection control is critical as discussed above, and as long as your dentist maintains their safety and infection prevention protocols, you can trust them when it comes to all of your dental needs!
At Nebraska Family Dentistry, we strive to provide a safe place for our patients. One of the ways we do so by following high infection standards. You can schedule with our dentists in Lincoln, NE 24/7 via online scheduling app.
You can schedule 24/7 via online schedule