Infection prevention and control standards are important in maintaining a safe environment for patients by reducing the risk of the potential spread of disease from person to person. These routines are designed to eliminate the risk of infections and to ensure a safe and healthy environment for our patients, providers and visitors.
Standards: Our standards are followed for each and every patient in the office. These standards mean that the dental provider treats each patient in the same way, using the same methods. Gloves are used for all dental procedures. After each patient and procedure, gloves and masks are discarded and hands are washed before a new pair of gloves is donned.
Sterilization of instruments: Each instrument undergoes a sterilization process after each patient and procedure. After the dentists, hygienists or dental assistants have finished treating a patient; all dental instruments that are heat stable are sterilized by steam under pressure (autoclaving) and dry heat. Before sterilization, instruments are cleaned so that any debris is removed using an enzymatic or non-enzymatic before they are used on any other patient.
Sterilization is a process that kills all forms of life, including infectious organisms such as Hepatitis B, Hepatitis C, HIV and Tuberculosis. Each sterilized load is tested to ensure instruments are in fact being sterilized and that all infectious organisms are killed. With these detailed testing procedures, dentists and patients can be confident that the instruments used have been completely cleaned and sterilized.
Broad Spectrum: Effective against a wide range of bacteria. The four major components are Tuberculocidal, Virucidal, Fungicidal and Bactericidal.
Sterilization: The process of making something free from bacteria or other living microorganisms.
Disinfecting: the process of cleaning something in order to destroy bacteria.
A number of items in the dental office are used on patients only once and then discarded. Disposable items include gloves, masks, needles and syringes, protective coverings for instrument trays, and certain instruments that cannot withstand the sterilization process. Discarded needles are placed in a designated container to prevent needle-stick injuries, not in the regular waste collection.
Patient safety extends to the dental treatment area as well. The area in which your treatment occurs is cleaned and disinfected after each patient, and disposable covers are placed to protect surfaces from contamination. These covers are replaced after treating each patient. This is also true for the area in which sterilization occurs.