Sterilization has always been an important part of what we do here at Hawkins Dentistry. With the COVID-19 now seemingly a part of our everyday vocabulary, we want to explain the dental sterilization protocols we follow on a daily basis to guard your health while visiting our office.
It’s important to us for you to feel safe and confident about your health when visiting our office. We’ve been following the well-established guidelines and standards established by the American Dental Association (ADA) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) well before the pandemic. In fact, the guidelines have been a vital part of our daily sterilization protocols since we opened our office.
It’s these protocols that set the stage for a sterile and clean environment necessary for dental exams and treatment procedures.
Protective Equipment We Use
All Hawkins Dentistry team members — including dentists, hygienists, and assistants — wear personal protective equipment (PPE) as they’re treating you. PPE includes a face mask or guard face, shields, and disposable gloves. The use of fresh gloves is a crucial part of the process as it slashes the chances of contamination by as much as 80 percent.
Here’s how we do it. Before seeing you, each team member will:
- Remove their gloves
- Wash their hands vigorously with a medical-grade disinfectant hand soap
- Put on a fresh pair of gloves
Each of those steps is repeated after every patient examination or treatment, and after an object is touched.
To protect the health of our patients and our team, we strongly encourage team members to stay home if they’re not feeling well. We ask the same of you. If you’re not feeling 100 percent on the day of your visit, simply contact us and we’ll reschedule your appointment.
Although some viruses and bacteria can live on an exposed surface for several hours or more, we don’t give them a fighting chance here. All surfaces are cleaned down to the microscopic level to protect your health while you’re here. Throughout each day, we rigorously clean every exposed surface. This includes every countertop, tray, examination light handles, and more.
After each patient exam or procedure, the rooms are thoroughly disinfected before the next patient comes in. Further, our intense daily office cleaning is boosted by a weekly deep cleaning.
Sterilization of the Dental Equipment
Viruses, microbes, spores, and bacteria find no refuge in our office. To sterilize our dental equipment, we use a dental autoclave and chemical-based solutions.
Reaching temperatures far beyond the boiling point, the autoclave is highly effective at eliminating all types of potential contaminants from our instruments. After the instruments have been sorted and cleaned, they’re placed in a sealed bag and securely stored until ready for use.
Before an instrument or dental tool is used during your exam, you’ll see a team member unwrap it in front of you. “Single-use-only” tools stay in their factory-sealed packaging until they’re ready to be used. Afterward, they’re promptly disposed of.
Staying Ahead of the Curve
You should never have to worry about your health when visiting a health care facility like a dentist’s office. That’s why we’ll do our part by continuing to follow the ADA and CDC guidelines, and adjust our routine when needed.
Our dental practice is built on trust, and a huge part of that trust is you knowing that all our equipment has been thoroughly cleaned and sanitized.
If you have questions about your upcoming dental visit at Hawkins Dentistry, or need to reschedule, please reach out to us.