All healthcare facilities must observe strict infection control measures to avoid the spread of disease. To promote effective infection control practices in dental clinics, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has laid out guidelines to help dentists reduce infection, especially now that the world is at the height of the coronavirus pandemic and expecting a second wave. Stringent cleaning and sterilization of dental equipment must be observed to rule out possible spread of infection.
Following the CDC-recommended guidelines, Lakeside Family Dental has implemented the strictest safety measures to ensure that our facilities, staff, and patients are protected from harmful pathogens, including SARS-CoV-2.
How Can COVID-19 Affect Dental Clinics?
Coronavirus disease or COVID-19 can cause mild to severe respiratory illness. Those who are prone to the disease are:
- the elderly
- individuals who have compromised immune systems
- individuals diagnosed with pre-existing medical conditions like diabetes, respiratory illnesses, and cardiovascular disease
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), a person can contract coronavirus disease if their eyes, nose, or mouth come into contact with the nasal or saliva droplets of infected people or by touching contaminated surfaces and immediately touching their face.
Dental instruments are designed to be used to poke around a person’s mouth. If used on an infected individual, it must be properly sterilized afterwards. Otherwise, these instruments can become a vector for transmission.
Additionally, dental clinics use motor-powered instruments for procedures like polishing, cavity preparation, and scaling among others. Ultrasonic handpieces, air-water syringes, and sonics produce aerosols and spatters. Aerosols can land on various surfaces or on people within the splatter zone. Aerosolized droplets can also remain suspended in the air for extended periods which infect staff and other patients who enter the area.
For this reason, we at Lakeside Family Dental make it a point to sanitize our rooms and instruments thoroughly, leaving no room for the coronavirus and other pathogens to thrive. It is the patient’s right to receive dental care without risking their health and safety.
Should I Skip Dental Visits Until the Pandemic Is Over?
Dentists in Ontario have begun to reopen. Lakeside Family Dental is now able to accommodate in-person visits for restorative care, general dentistry, cosmetic dentistry, orthodontics, and patient education.
The CDC hasn’t recorded any cases of COVID-19 transmission from dental settings as of writing this article. However, we have implemented precautionary measures so dental visits are safe for staff and patients alike.
Visit us especially if you need emergency assistance. To determine if you need urgent dental care, ask the following questions:
- Are you in severe pain?
- Is your mouth bleeding?
- Have you lost a tooth?
- Are you experiencing loose teeth?
- Are you experiencing any infection (e.g. abscess or swelling on gums and face)?
Contact us in the event of the following emergencies:
- Broken or chipped teeth
- Dislodged tooth
- Lost filling
- Knocked-out tooth
- Broken braces/wires
- Loose brands and brackets
- Lost crown
- Soft tissue injuries
Delaying treatment for these specific issues can lead to long-term damage to your teeth and may harm your overall health. Seek urgent care at the initial sign of an emergency.
Don’t forget to wear your face mask when heading out. Wearing a face mask protects you from inhaling potentially infected droplets. As much as possible, use an N95 mask. Upon arriving home, make sure to discard the mask and dispose of it properly.
What Are Our Cleaning and Dental Equipment Sterilization Practices?
Lakeside Family Dental consistently and thoroughly cleans and disinfects our examination rooms, dental chairs, light, tools, countertops, and all surfaces. Our dentists and staff also wear complete personal protective equipment (e.g. gloves, gowns, masks, and eyewear) inside the clinic premises and most importantly, during every dental procedure.
Before attending to the next patient, our dentists wash their hands and put on a new pair of gloves.
Below are the practices we observe to safeguard your health and safety:
- A Virtual Waiting Room via Slack Interoffice
It’s every dental practice’s responsibility to take proactive measures in enforcing social distancing guidelines even in performing dental procedures. With the safety of our patients and staff in mind, we’ve made our patient check-in and check-out a contactless experience through Slack.
2. Mobile Consultations Made Possible by TeleDent
Want to have your dental appointment without travelling all the way to our clinic? Lakeside Dental now offers teledentistry, thanks to TeleDent. With this advanced dental technology in Toronto, our dentists can now screen patients from the comfort of their homes, plan their treatments, and schedule follow-up appointments using live recordable video.
Wherever you may be, you can always get in touch with our dentists and hygienists and receive personalized dental care using your smartphone or computer.
3. Surface Disinfection
A vital preventive process, surface disinfection involves cleaning the dental operatory before a patient is made to settle down on the dental chair and after their procedure is finished. All touchable surfaces are thoroughly cleaned and disinfected using EPA-registered disinfectants.
4. Impression Disinfection
Dental impressions are at a high risk of exposure to oral microorganisms, as they are always in contact with blood and saliva. That’s why impressions can become a conduit for viral pathogens. If not cleaned properly, viral pathogens may live up to a number of days outside the body.
To prevent pathogen growth in dental impressions, we disinfect them thoroughly to kill off bacteria, viruses, and fungi. We also use Itero 3D intraoral scanning to limit contamination.
5. Tube Disinfection
Dental units are linked to a water system, and water is used to regulate all dental instruments that use electricity to function. Eventually, the water lines of a dental unit get saturated oral microorganisms. These microorganisms may reach the water system.
To avoid this, we must clean the suction lines before and after taking another patient.
6. Air Filtration
All our rooms have air purifiers installed with medical-grade high-efficiency particulate arresting (HEPA) filters. These special filters help maintain indoor air quality by trapping dust, dust mites, mould spores, and other contaminants. You can be sure that you’re breathing clean air when you’re inside our clinic with our air filtration system.
7. Automated Cleaning of Dental Instruments
Not cleaning the instruments right away after using them can be a cause for contamination. This is because saliva and blood possibly left on the instruments can lose moisture. When they dry out, it can be difficult to wash them off.
To avoid buildup, we clean and disinfect used dental equipment with our automated instrument washer-disinfector, called a hydrim, prior to placing them in a monitored sterilizer. This ensures that our instruments are efficiently sterilized before the next procedure.
8. Hand Disinfection
Proper handwashing is the most important approach in preventing the transmission of organisms to people and objects alike.
Our dental health care providers and staff wash their hands using warm water and soap followed by rubbing alcohol-based sanitizer before and after procedures, after touching instruments and surfaces, and after removing personal protective equipment. We also have an on-site washer and dryer for site washing needs.
9. Mouth Rinsing
Before the procedure, we let our patients gargle mouth rinse to reduce the number of microorganisms in their mouths. This lowers the chance of pathogens spreading when using power-driven dental equipment during treatment.
For your basic to advanced dental care needs, trust Lakeside Family Dental. We prioritize the safety of our patients and staff by implementing standard precautions to avoid the spread of infection. We always strive to deliver excellent patient care in a safe and hygienic environment.
Patient education is also important in reducing the risk of infection. We believe that people who are well-informed can better protect themselves and those around them. To raise awareness and give our patients peace of mind before visiting our practice, we lay out the sterilization methods we implement to prevent infection.
Our team of dentists are willing to see you for pre-screened emergencies, both on-site and online. If you have a dental emergency, call us at (905) 637-0801 or fill out our online form.