Dental Practice Safety
Complete Office Protection
A prominent issue in today's health care is control of the spread of infectious diseases such as AIDS, herpes, hepatitis and even the common cold. We share your concerns about this important issue.
It has been, and always will be our office policy to do more than any legislative body, regulatory agency, or ad hoc committee has even suggested as it relates to sterilization equipment and procedures. Our staff is extremely conscientious and well trained in infection control policies. We go the extra mile, because the total health of our patients is vitally important to us. The American Dental Association and the Centers for Disease Control have issued guidelines that include the recommendation that all dental handpieces and instruments be sterilized between patients. The only effective method of sterilization is by use of an autoclave. This assures internal as well as external sterility of all instruments.
We autoclave or throw away anything that touches the mouth between every patient, whether it comes into contact with blood or not. Although no documented cases of disease transmission have been associated with contaminated dental handpieces, we take no chances. The costs associated with this policy, including equipment, materials, and staff involvement, are significant, but the alternatives are not worthy of consideration.
We have adopted the very latest in prevention techniques, as recommended by the American Dental Association and the Centers for Disease Control. These include;
Barrier Techniques. We wear disposable masks and gloves, changing them between each patient.
Disinfectant Wipe-Down. We clean all operatory surfaces prior to each patient.
Water Purity. Our point-of-source water bottles are just ONE method we use to ensure that the water we use is cleaner than the water you drink... bottled or not!
Instrument Sterilization. We use the most effective system available in the world today to assure the sterility of our instruments. A hospital type autoclave combines high heat and pressurized steam to ensure instruments are bacteria free. Instruments such as dental burs, which cannot be sterilized, are disposed of after use.
State of the Art Infection Control
Our dental staff understands the importance of taking a comprehensive, professional approach to infection control. That's why we use a state of the art infection control system.
When your appointment with the dentist or the hygienist begins, you may notice a package wrapped in clear or blue paper near the dental chair. This is no ordinary package - it contains a unique package of dental instruments that is part of the special infection control system this office uses.
With the infection control system, you know that the instruments used by your dental professional at 21st Century Dental have been properly cleaned, sterilized and stored. And, it is one of the many precautions this office takes to safeguard your health.
How Infection Control Works
To better explain how this important system works, let's take a closer look at infection control:
Cleaning and Inspection. Following patient treatment, the tray of instruments and supplies is taken to the sterilization room. Disposable items are discarded and the instruments are thoroughly cleaned, inspected and organized.
Confidence. Next, a special "Indicator Strip" is attached to the instrument package. This strip will change color so you can be confident that the instruments have been exposed to the proper conditions for sterilization.
Sterilization. The sterilization bag will maintain sterility of the contents, while the monitor tape acts as an additional check on proper sterilization. The instruments are now ready for sterilization.
Isolation during dental procedures. When appropriate, we use the Isolite system to prevent any aspiration or swallowing of materials during treatment.
Sterile Presentation. Following sterilization, the instruments are stored in a sterile condition. Once you are seated for your appointment, the package is opened, providing a sterile set of instruments for your visit.
The infection control system is an important part of this office's larger commitment to take all necessary precautions to safeguard your health during your visit with us.
In addition to instrument sterilization, these are procedures we follow on a regular basis to assure quality care and provide a disease-free environment:
- Disposal of Waste by Outside Vendors
- Waste Tracking by Outside Vendors
- Sharps Disposal Units
- Sharps Handling Units
- Autoclave Steam Sterilizers, including the Statim
- Disinfection Ultrasonic Unit
- Sterilizer Testing for Each Cycle by Bag & Test Strips
- Barrier Protection
- Uniforms/Laundry/Contamination Bags
- OSHA Training & Retraining
- OSHA Compliance by Outside Vendors
- New Maintenance Procedures for Equipment
- New Most Modern Equipment
- Disposable Products
- OSHA Manual
- Labeling of All Products & Equipment
- MSDS Manual & Updates
- Hepatitis Vaccination by Outside Vendors
- Voluntary AIDS Testing
- CPR Training & Updates
- Continuing Education
- Eye Protection for Patients & Staff
- Eye Wash Station
- Recovery System for Nitrous Oxide gases
- Several types of surgical gloves, including vinyl for our latex-allergic patients
- CPR certification of all clinical team members
Should you have any questions concerning any of our sterilization procedures, please do not hesitate to ask. We are proud of the measures we take to ensure your overall health.