Due to COVID-19, orthodontic and dental offices were closed to everything but emergency services. Now that things are slowly opening back up, we want to make sure our patients know that their safety is our top priority. Dr. Linda Hallman, an orthodontist in Chevy Chase, MD, discusses the infection prevention measures in place at FitBite Orthodontics.
Keeping With the CDC and ADA Guidelines
Since 1993, these two agencies have been working together to develop and implement infection control and sterilization guidelines for the dental and orthodontic industries. They work together to ensure that the latest technology is used and the best techniques are recommended. A CDC document provides tools and checklists for employees to follow to ensure the proper protocols are being used in their offices.
Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
PPE is necessary for the safety of both patients and staff. Most importantly, disposable gloves are a staple in the office. Gloves are changed between patients and when surfaces like the computer are touched. Depending on the services being performed, gloves may be changed multiple times with the same patient. Proper handwashing techniques are followed before any pair of gloves is put on.
Bibs are provided for patients and protective coverings are given to staff to make sure that bodily fluids don’t get on clothing or skin. Eye protection is always used in our industry. However, with COVID-19, you may notice beefed up measures. It’s recommended that medical personnel wear full-face shields to ensure that nothing passes back and forth between patients and staff.
Disinfection and Sterilization Techniques
Due to the nature of our work, there are some tools that have to be reused between patients. This means that they require the highest standard of sterilization. Particularly for high-risk tools like those used for orthognathic surgery, heat sterilization is required. Lower-risk tools are also treated in this way when they’re able to withstand the high temperatures.
For other orthodontic tools, parts or all of the tools are disposable. This lets the patient know that they’re getting something new from the beginning of their appointment. For surface sterilization, like for blood pressure cuffs or the exam chair, they’re thoroughly wiped down with disinfectant. This technique is also used for high-traffic areas like the reception desk or various surfaces in the waiting room.
With COVID-19, stricter procedures may be implemented. The number of people allowed in the waiting room at one time may be restricted. We may ask you to wait in your car until we come to get you. Temperatures checks and questionnaires about COVID-19 symptoms may be required before you’re able to enter the office. We may also ask you to sanitize your hands when you come into the office.
Your Orthodontist in Chevy Chase, Maryland
We want you to know that your safety is your priority. We’re ready to see the smiles of our patients again! Call us or schedule an appointment online.