The World Health Organization declared on March 11, 2020 that COVID-19 is a pandemic due to the rate of transmission and spread worldwide. With this declaration, every country in the world has taken strict measures to stop the virus from further spreading.
Since COVID-19 is becoming everyone’s concern, it is only right that businesses are responsible. Individuals, groups, employees, businesses, and the government should cooperate to put an end to this worldwide pandemic.
This is the thrust that healthcare workers stand on, to provide responsible medical care and treatment to the people they serve. While COVID-19 is a new virus, infectious diseases aren’t new for healthcare workers and systems are in place to prevent diseases from being transmitted.
Infectious Diseases and the Dental Practice
Many infections are being transmitted through the mouth. The mouth is the dentist’s primary area of care.
With the emergence of COVID-19, dentists are called to establish protocols that prevent and control the spread of infection. They should ensure foremost the health of their patients, their staff and themselves to put everyone out of risk of contracting the virus.
COVID-19 Prevention and Control at Dental Practices
It’s important that the dentist is knowledgeable about COVID-19 and its course of transmission. This way, he or she can implement appropriate measures to prevent or at least minimize the risk of transmission in their dental office.
While infectious disease control protocols are in place, COVID-19 has resulted in heightened alerts and stricter policies to be enforced in dental practices. As a stringent measure, the American Dental Association recently recommended to dentists nationwide the postponement of any elective procedures for three weeks starting March 16.
5 COVID-19 Control Procedures to Consider at your Dental Practice
1. Cleaning and disinfection
Routine cleaning and disinfection must be done in the dental office. This is the first line of defense against an infection. Implement a regular schedule to do these tasks in every part of the office, especially the treatment rooms. Cleaning should always precede disinfecting. By that, you remove the germs from surfaces and kill the remaining.
By cleaning and disinfecting, exposed surfaces are protected against pathogens. This minimizes the risk of acquiring an infection and possibly transmitting it. COVID-19 can live for hours on surfaces, thus the value of cleaning and disinfecting frequently.
2. Handling and Disposing
Sterilizing dental instruments should be done regularly and in between patients. This is to make sure that the tools being used are sterile to avoid contamination and transmission of an infection. Sterilizing requires multiple steps and specialized equipment and this should be present in the dental office.
Single-use devices should be used for one patient only and be disposed of properly after a procedure. Disposable dental tools and needles should never be reused. Disposable gloves and masks should be thrown away after each patient.
3. Hygiene practices
Hygiene is a must in dental practices. Hand hygiene is key to preventing the spread of an infection in a dental office and among patients. Handwashing with the use of water and soap is required before any examinations and treatments. An alcohol-based rub can also be used to disinfect the hands. Dental practices should also post on their wall the World Health Organization hand-rub and hand-wash illustrations. Hand hygiene is very essential as we speak of COVID-19. It will help to kill the virus and prevent it from being transmitted.
Respiratory hygiene is also important when sneezing or coughing. A coughing etiquette should be followed by dentists and staff to prevent the transmission of a respiratory infection, such as the new COVID-19.
4. Use of protective equipment
PPE or personal protective equipment provides protection against COVID-19 or any infectious disease. PPE includes gloves, masks, gowns and eyewear. This protective equipment should be disposed of properly after each use. A dental practice should have ample stocks, especially during these times.
5. Observing home quarantine
It’s imperative that dental practices know the symptoms of COVID-19 and educate their patients about it. Known symptoms of the virus include fever, cough, difficulty breathing and pneumonia.
With the recommendation from the ADA to postpone elective procedures, dentists are expected to cancel scheduled treatments and advise their patients to observe home quarantine measures.
The American Dental Association (ADA) on March 16, 2020 recommended dental practices nationwide to postpone elective procedures for the next three weeks to mitigate the spread of COVID-19. Dentists are only expected to conduct dental emergencies during the said period.
Implementing Safety and Prevention Measures Against COVID-19
Fine Arts Dentistry in Matthews adheres to the recommendation from ADA. Even before the spread of COVID-19, Fine Arts Dentistry has long been implementing precautionary measures against infectious diseases.
We are one with the nation in fighting the spread of COVID-19. We are committed to the sanitary and healthy conduct of dental procedures in our office.
We recommend our patients who are experiencing Covid-like symptoms to postpone their dental schedules and stay home for quarantine. For more information about our office schedule, please contact Fine Arts Dentistry. Or you can call (704) 461-0685.
We look forward to seeing you at our office very soon. For now, let’s be responsible for ourselves and one another. Let’s all make sure that the virus doesn’t spread.