Keeping dental instruments and equipment clean is important in any situation, but it is especially important during the COVID-19 pandemic. Because the Coronavirus that causes COVID-19 can be so dangerous, dental offices have taken many extra steps to limit the possibility of spreading the virus in the office. Being extra thorough when cleaning, disinfecting, and sterilizing surfaces and instruments is one of them. Your dentist can tell you exactly how they are sterilizing their equipment to protect themselves and their patients.
How Are Tools and Instruments Sterilized at The Dentist?
Dentists follow specific guidelines to ensure that viruses and bacteria that spread through saliva and blood are not transmitted from patient to patient. It’s important that dentists always follow strict sterilization procedures, especially in the midst of a worldwide pandemic. This is how your dental practice protects you from unsanitary conditions:
- Tools like mouth mirrors, forceps, and dental scalers are sterilized using an autoclave, which is a machine that uses high pressure and elevated temperatures to sterilize equipment. This ensures that the instruments are always clean for every patient.
- Some types of equipment are partially or completely single use to ensure their sterility. This includes gloves, syringe needles, cotton rolls, surgical masks, and other items that are only used for one patient. The suction device that pulls saliva from your mouth, the air syringe, and the water syringe all have replaceable tips that are disposed of after each patient.
How Is Other Equipment Sanitized?
There are other items in the exam room the dental staff touch regularly that must be cleaned too. This is how:
- Personal Protective Equipment (PPE): Dentists and their staff wear protective equipment like gloves, surgical masks, and face shields to decrease the likelihood of transmitting illness. Dentists are using more PPE than usual due to the virus. All protective gear is disposed of or properly disinfected between patients.
- Commonly Used Areas: Counters, doorknobs, light switches, faucets, and other commonly touched surfaces are routinely disinfected with a hospital grade solution. Items such as the overhead light, the dental chair, electric cords, and keyboards are covered with plastic. All plastic covers are replaced and disinfected after each patient leaves the exam room.
Your dentist and their staff always do whatever they can to provide a clean environment for their patients. Now, it is even more important for dentists to keep themselves, their teams, and their patients protected. Because of these routine procedures, you can go to your dental office with the peace of mind that you are in a safe environment.
About the Author
Dr. L. King Scott provides an extensive variety of treatment options for his patients. He has been in practice for well over 40 years and has thousands of hours of post-graduate education. Due to COVID-19, Dr. Scott and his staff have taken many steps to protect their patients from the Coronavirus. If you have any questions or concerns, visit his website or call (318) 325-4600.