Infection control procedures are actions taken in health care settings to prevent the spread of disease. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has recommendations for dental office infection control. Your dentist cares about your safety and works hard to prevent the spread of infection. Before you enter the examining room, all surfaces, such as the dental chair, dental light, drawer handles and countertops, have been cleaned and disinfected. Offices may cover some equipment with protective covers, which are replaced after each patient.
Non-disposable items like the dental tools are cleaned and sterilized between patients. Disposable dental tools and needles are never reused. Infection control precautions also require all dental staff involved in patient care to use appropriate protective equipment such as gloves, masks, gowns and eyewear when needed. After each patient, disposable gloves and masks are thrown away. Before seeing the next patient, everyone on the treatment team washes their hands and put on a new pair of gloves.
Your well-being is important to your dentist and dental staff. That’s why infection control procedures are in place at your dental office.
What about the new coronavirus?
On March 16, 2020, the ADA issued the following guidance to dentists regarding the COVID-19 pandemic:
The American Dental Association (ADA) recognizes the unprecedented and extraordinary circumstances dentists and all health care professionals face related to growing concern about COVID-19. The ADA is deeply concerned for the health and well-being of the public and the dental team.
In order for dentistry to do its part to mitigate the spread of COVID-19, the ADA recommends dentists nationwide postpone elective procedures for the next three weeks. Concentrating on emergency dental care will allow us to care for our emergency patients and alleviate the burden that dental emergencies would place on hospital emergency departments.
As health care professionals, it is up to dentists to make well-informed decisions about their patients and practices. The ADA is committed to provide the latest information to the profession in a useful and timely manner.
The ADA is continually evaluating and will update its recommendation on an ongoing basis as new information becomes available. Please visit ADA.org/virus for the latest information.
Visit the CDC’s website for the latest information on COVID-19.