Re-opening during COVID-19 – June 8
Before the early 80’s, dental professionals usually did not wear masks, gloves and other appropriate PPE when they were providing dental treatments to their patients. The guidelines and regulations in sterilization and disinfection of dental materials, instruments and supplies were sparse.
With the growing knowledge of how pathogens could be spread and the better understanding of the risk of getting infectious diseases from a dental clinic, after having dental treatments done. Dental professionals started to wear masks and other proper PPE at work, along with more strict requirements in infection prevention and control protocols.
During routine dental procedures like cleaning and removing cavities from teeth, aerosols are generated all the time. Aerosols are small droplets of liquid floating in the air. The air droplets vary in sizes – the bigger ones drop down quickly but the small ones stay in the air for a few hours.
There are a lot of other dental procedures that will generate aerosols as well. Those procedures include teeth bonding for cosmetic reasons, impressions of the teeth for night guards, whitening trays or orthodontic study models, using a cavitron during scaling, implant placements, gum surgeries, veneer, crown and bridge preparations, teeth extraction etc.
Inside the air droplets you have a lot of germs piggyback riding in them.
So dental professionals need masks to protect themselves from the patients. The masks and other PPE also protect the patients from getting infected during dental treatments.
Then there were global outbreaks of diseases and each time there were some new guidelines and requirements for dentists to follow.
For this COVID-19, Affinity Dental Care has implemented quite a few changes and we are ready to reopen for the routine dental treatments and procedure starting next week, June 2, 2020.
To make sure the environment and the treatments to be provided are safe, we have done the following to re-open on June 8:
1) New Office Setup:
-There will be limited point of entry with one single entrance.
-There will be no magazines, toys and any other non-essential items in the reception and treatment areas.
-There are physical barriers like a plexiglass shield around the reception desk
-There are signs to remind patients to keep a 2 M distance from each other, to sanitize their hands when they step into the office and to wear masks.
-Each treatment area is isolated from all the other areas by doors, walls and/or drapes from ceiling to floor.
2) Patient Protocol:
-We will ask patients on the phone if they have or at risk of having COVID-19. When the patient arrives, we will assess patients for their COVID-19 symptoms like checking the temperature.
-Patients in the office need to wear masks, keep a distance and sanitize their hands.
-Extra 15 minutes will be given between patients to provide adequate time to get the quipement like the chairs, lights, counter tops, handles and any open surfaces in the treatment area clean and disinfected.
3) Personal protection equipment
-We will wear fit-tested N95 masks, gloves, eye protection, face shields and protective gowns.
-Because of the scarcity of N95 mask, I also wear a single use surgical mask over a N95 mask.
4) Air Management
-We will keep the door to the treatment area closed all the time to keep the air inside.
-We also have a chair-side high-volume suction with a large funnel head that go close to the patient’s mouth during treatment to remove air droplets from the air. There are also three mobile HEPA cleaning machines in the room to filter out the pathogens as small as the coronavirus of the air. A new HEPA filtration system with UV light was also installed in the central air circulation to clean the air further.
At Affinity Dental Care, we take safety seriously to get back open on June 8.