Disease-causing viruses and bacteria often collect on the hands and in the mouth. Therefore, even during the best of times, patients and dentists alike may be at risk for infection during a dental check-up or procedure. To protect patients, a Brooklyn dentist adheres to strict standards of safety and cleanliness to prevent the spread of disease.
1. Sterile Instruments
Most dental instruments and equipment are reusable. Therefore, between seeing patients, it is important for dentists to not only thoroughly clean and sterilize instruments following each use but to ensure effective sterilization with biological, chemical, and mechanical monitors.
2. Disinfected Surfaces
Transfer of pathogens (disease-causing agents) can occur between an instrument and the surface upon which it rests when not in use. Dentists can prevent this by cleaning surfaces with disinfectant products registered with the Environmental Protection Agency for use in health care settings and following the instructions from the manufacturer.
3. Clean Hands
Dentists can use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer when their hands are not visibly soiled. However, when the hands are visibly soiled, they should use soap and water to wash their hands. In either case, they should practice hand hygiene before and after seeing patients, using gloves, or touching objects that may be contaminated with bodily fluids.
4. Sharps Safety and Safe Injections
Some particularly dangerous pathogens are transmitted only through the blood. Therefore, it is important for dentists and their assistants to practice safe injection practices to avoid transmission of bloodborne pathogens to patients. It is also necessary to practice sharps safety while storing, cleaning up, and disposing of sharp implements to avoid accidental exposure through unintended puncture.
Dentists and hygienists receive training and guidelines on infection prevention. It is part of their education to become a professional in the field of dentistry. Patients also have a role to play in the prevention of disease. They should inform the dentist of any active infections or symptoms of disease before the appointment.