Long before COVID-19 protocols, medical and dental professionals had worked diligently on the control and prevention of infectious diseases.
For Calgary dental clinics, The Alberta Dental Association & College sets strict infection prevention guidelines.
Before Alberta dental offices could even consider opening back up, the ADA&C created specific COVID-19 regulations for control and prevention as well as staff preparedness.
These include stringent hand washing, pre-screening patient protocols, clinic layout preparations, personal protective equipment and even rules about receiving deliveries!
During a pandemic, we can never completely eliminate the possibility of transmission.
But here at TREC Dental and all our clinic locations, we are following or exceeding all expert recommendations for infection prevention.
The World Health Organization stated the virus commonly spreads person to person through droplets from the nose or mouth of an infected person.
These droplets can land on and contaminate surfaces in the dental room.
After a patient leaves the dental appointment, the dental assistant will wipe down all surfaces with a disinfectant and clean the room thoroughly before the next patient arrives.
What about aerosol transmission?
WHO has stated more research is needed to determine the role of aerosols in the transmission of the novel coronavirus.
What we do know is that outbreaks have happened in close settings with poor ventilation.
We also know that dental hygiene or other restorative dental procedures can create aerosols.
So before your dental appointment, you will be screened for COVID-19.
We also ask patients to wear a mask once inside the clinic – we will give you one if you do not have access to your own mask, but supplies are limited so we ask you to make an effort to supply your own!
To further minimize the number of patients in our clinic at one time, we only have limited dental chairs open, and we stagger appointment times.
If you are a high-risk patient in need of dental care, consider an appointment at the beginning or end of the day to further reduce your exposure.
Aerosols During Procedures
During routine dentistry, including cavity fillings or a hygiene appointment, the high powered tools we use can create and distribute aerosols in the room.
To reduce the creation of aerosols, our dentists and hygienists use high powered suction, which has been shown to capture almost all aerosols produced.
Additionally, when it comes to aerosols, the highest risk of infection is to the practitioner, not to the patient!
So, to ensure the safety and health of our staff, we might look a little different at your next appointment!
To reduce the risk of infection to ourselves, we will be donning PPE, including masks, disposable or washable gowns, face shields, caps and of course, gloves!
In addition to PPE, all staff entering the clinic receive a COVID-19 screening each day.
A Dental Scaler’s Journey
All of our tools, if not disposable, are put through a multi-step cleaning process.
During an appointment, a tool is wiped between each use to remove fluids or visible debris.
After its work is done in your mouth, a dental tool makes a trip to the sterilization room.
Soiled tools are put in an ultrasonic cleaner with a disinfectant for decontamination.
This cleaner uses ultrasonic vibrations to shake loose any remaining particles combined with a detergent to sanitize.
After their hot bath, tools will move to the autoclave.
The dental autoclave uses high heat to eliminate any traces of infectious material.
The autoclave reaches temperatures above 130 C!
How do I know if the dental office near me is safe?
Check your dentist’s website to learn more about all precautions they are taking to prevent the spread.