The one concept that drives our Infection Control Policy is a concept called Universal Precautions. In short, it means to treat everyone as if they carried a contagious disease. Our goal is to protect ourselves and our patients. How do we accomplish that? Well, for starters, we look to the CDC and OSHA for guidelines that we must follow in order to comply with federal regulations in this area. We also consult with independent researchers to determine if the federal guidelines are sufficient. What we found is that in some cases we feel we must exceed the guidelines that the government would hold us to.
Everything that goes into the mouth is either discarded or sterilized, not once, but twice. Of those instruments which must be sterilized, each instrument is pre-cleaned and chemical treated with a germicidal, fungicidal, tuberculocidal, and virucidal agent. Then these instruments are bagged and run through an autoclave, a heat/steam sterilizer. To be sure that this process is working as it should, we test our autoclaves monthly to ensure sterilization.
We have disconnected ourselves from the city and are no longer dependent upon municipal water. Each of our dental units has its own independent water supply that is sterilized weekly. This way we can control the quality of the water that is used for treatment. All non autoclave-able items that come into contact with are patients, such as the dental chairs, are disinfected between patients to further ensure safety. Remember, these are the same chairs and instruments that are used to treat our staff members when they receive dental care here in our office.
Lastly, both doctors and assistants use gloves, masks, and eye protection whenever necessary for patient care. This protects are patients as well as ourselves from any cross-contamination that may occur in a dental office. Our systems are designed to protect everyone and we feel that infection control is a top priority.