Infection Control MEASURES
Keeping Our Patients and Providers Safe during COVID-19
Our office has developed and implemented a multi-level Infection Control and Pandemic Response Plan which aligns with recommendations from the
This includes changes to our facility, additions of equipment, new administrative and engineering controls, and finally utilization of recommended personal protective equipment.
We have always worked hard to ensure that our office has met or exceeded CDC, OSHA, State, and even European Union Regulatory requirements for cleanliness. All instruments that have patient contact are either single-use or sterilized in a steam autoclave after being steam and detergent washed; a highly effective process rarely seen in a dental office setting. We also use hospital-grade disinfectants throughout the office. Our sterilization machines are tested weekly to ensure that they kill all bacterial spores. The safety of our patients and team members is our highest priority and responsibility, we take it very seriously.
Many of these systems have been in place in our office for years! Below you will see some of our system highlights including some of our recent additions put in place for your safety as well as the health and safety of our staff.
Changes to our Facility:
- Private Operatories minimize aerosol spread. Doors are kept closed before, during, and after patient treatment. This maintains the distance between patients and minimizes the risk of aerosol spread. Our private operatories were installed in 2018 and when you visit, you may notice additional physical barriers to operatories have been installed to minimize air movement.
- Signage has been added to comply with local regulations and serve as a visual reminder for social distancing and proper hand hygiene.
- Removal of group waiting areas, magazines, and non-wipable/cleanable items was completed in March 2020 in line with ADA recommendations.
- Hand sanitizer use required at entry and exit for any and all persons entering our facility in accordance with local and more broadly applicable ordinances were instituted in March 2020.
Additions of Equipment:
- SciCan Hydrim Heat and Detergent Pre-Clean and SciCan Steam Autoclave: Above both US and European standards for dental or hospital instrumentation cleaning and sterilization, this has been our personal standard for safety for several years. Instruments are kept in a sterile wrap until they are opened in front of the patient, verifying sterility and giving our patients peace of mind that our instruments are not cross-contaminated before use. We do not use cold-sterile procedures.
- Particulate Eliminating, single-use vacuum suction units: IsoLite Systems were installed in all of our operatories in 2016 and was recommended for use any time rotary instrumentation is used in March 2020 by the American Dental Association. The use of particulate minimizing equipment has always been an existing standard of care for our team. The addition of the PureVac System for all hygiene procedures has been implemented as of May 2020 secondary to recommendations from the ADA and CDA.
- Water Line Cleanliness Equipment: We invested in the VistaPure system during our 2018 renovation, which exceeds industry standards for water cleanliness. Our lines are checked for contamination weekly and professional spore tests are completed in accordance with all applicable laws and manufacturer recommendations.
- Air Purifiers: After the 2017 fire season, we invested in air purification systems for each operatory as well as our common areas. These have been placed in strategic positions per CDC (May 2020) recommendations to eliminate airborne particles.
Administrative and Engineering Controls:
- Professional Facility Cleaning: Doubled frequency vs. industry standard
- Increased time between patient treatment in each operatory: Complying with recent CDC recommendations, 15 minutes is allowed to pass prior to cleaning our private operatories after patient treatment (May 2020). This allows particles to settle out of the air, protecting our staff from contamination. Rooms are cleaned above industry standards while our fully licensed and qualified staff remain in their personal protective equipment. They will be taking extra precautions to ensure each area is ready for the next patient.
- Decontamination Procedures: Packages and mail are decontaminated and external packaging is not permitted within the facility. Couriers are instructed to leave parcels outside for our staff to complete our rigid procedures required for incoming items.
- Laboratory Communications and Contact: Use of our Trios scanner has been optimized, limiting contact with dental materials for patients and lab personnel. When lab cases are received in the office our decontamination procedures are followed, which includes the use of disinfectants to remove any possible sources of infection from outside contact as well as the removal of external packaging. We are proud to work with local, independent laboratories and have communicated with each vendor regarding their readiness and decontamination procedures. We feel each facility is operating to a rigorous standard and will continue to partner with them.
- Use of SciCan Optim-1 Disinfectant: Our standard of care has always included this potent disinfectant, which is approved by all relevant agencies to kill microorganisms of concern (viruses, bacterium, and spores) within 30 seconds of contact with the solution. We utilize the industry standard “spray/wipe/spray” method of disinfection. We have supplemented our protocol as listed here.
- Waterline Testing and Treatment: We test our water in the office weekly for contamination, using the ProEdge QuickPass System and follow manufacturer guidelines for waterline shocking procedures. Lines are cleared after every patient. Each of our new operatories has been equipped with the ADec ICV Line Cleaning System which provides additional safeguards for dental waterline cleanliness.
- Pre-Screening: All appointed patients are screened one week prior and at the time of their appointment for signs/symptoms/exposure to the COVID 19 causing virus.
- Check-In Procedure Modification: We have changed our check-in procedures to allow for fewer people in the office at a time and to minimize the number of people entering and exiting the building. See our procedure, adapted from the ADA.
- Training Mandates for All Employees: All employees have completed CDC and/or OSHA approved training in personal protective equipment use and hand hygiene as well as training in our office’s Pandemic Response Plan.
Personal Protective Equipment:
As always, we use appropriate equipment for a procedure at hand, including washable or disposable gowns, head covering, eye protection, level 3 or N95 masks, face shields, and disposable gloves. Our fully licensed staff has completed rigorous training in how to use their personal protective equipment as well as optimal hand hygiene.
If you would like further information on our Safety Measures or our Standards of Care, please don’t hesitate to contact us at Santa Rosa Office Phone Number 707-544-2811