Cleanliness has been on almost everyone’s mind since the start of the pandemic. Fortunately, this is not something you need to worry about when visiting your dental office. Sterilization is an important step that takes place before your appointment. Ensuring that all dental instruments and equipment are disinfected is critical in preventing the spread of illnesses and infections, including the coronavirus that causes COVID-19. In this post, your dentist in San Antonio will tell you exactly how the sterilizing process works and how other frequently touched objects in the office are cleaned.
How Are Dental Instruments Sterilized?
Dentists are required to follow strict sterilization guidelines for the safety of their patients. Here are a few ways that equipment is kept clean:
- Autoclave: By using a machine called an autoclave, which uses high pressure and elevated temperature, your dentist sterilizes items like forceps, dental scalers, and mouth mirrors. This method meets the strict standards set by the American Dental Association (ADA).
- Partially disposable parts: Certain instruments, like the suction device that pulls saliva from your mouth, the air syringe, and the water syringe, have disposable tips that are thrown away after each use.
- Single use items: Much of the equipment used by dentists are single use. This ensures that germs won’t travel from one patient to another. This includes surgical masks, syringe needles, cotton rolls, and gloves. They are disposed of after each patient’s appointment.
How Are Other Frequently Used Objects Disinfected?
Other surfaces require frequent disinfecting as well. Here are a few ways how:
- Personal Protective Equipment (PPE): Although this is not a method of disinfecting, PPE is used to prevent germs being spread to and from your dental provider. By wearing items like surgical masks, gloves, face shields, and other protective clothing, your dentist is reducing the likelihood of spreading illnesses to other people or commonly used surfaces. Having these extra barriers trap germs into place so it cannot travel any further.
- Hospital Grade Solution: Between patients, surfaces like light switches, faucets, counters, and doorknobs are routinely wiped down with a hospital grade solution that is effective against viruses and bacteria, including the coronavirus.
- Plastic Coverings: Other surfaces, like the dental chair, electrical cords, keyboards, and the overhead lights, are all covered with a sheet of plastic. After each patient, the covers are replaced and properly cleaned using a disinfectant.
You dentist always does everything in his power to keep a clean office environment for you and your family. Because of strict dental safety protocols, you can have peace of mind whenever you go to the office.
About the Author
Dr. Justin J. Gonzalez practices at San Pedro Smiles Dental Center in San Antonio, TX. He regularly attends many hours of continuing dental education and is a member of the American Dental Association, the San Antonio District Dental Society, and the Academy of General Dentistry. He prioritizes providing dental care in a sterile environment to keep his patients healthy. For more information or to schedule an appointment, visit his website or call (210) 468-1106.