The barrage of news and information that surrounds us is a constant assault against our peace of mind. The mixture of true and false reports, ‘what ifs’, and conjectures feeds into a level of confusion and fear that few of us have ever experienced. Although we cannot address all your fears and concerns, we can address those that you may have regarding dentistry in this time of the SARS-2 COV (Covid19) situation.
Safely managing pandemics, aerosols, and other infectious diseases is not new to dentistry or the medical community. Ever since the HIV/AIDS pandemic in the mid 1980’s, major advancements in infection control protocols to protect dental team members and the public have been made. Dentistry was at the forefront of many of these developments, and were among first adopters of universal precautions. Because of these strict protocols, dentistry has been, and still is one of the safest health care providers. This is evidenced by the fact that there are no documented cases of any disease transmission related to dental offices, other than from a few needle stick injuries to dental health care workers. This is commendable considering that since the mid-80’s we have faced HIV, Swine Flu, SARS-1, MERS, and numerous influenza outbreaks. Suffice it to say our protocols and procedures have been, and continue to be safe. One big advantage that dentistry has over the medical community is that we do not treat sick people.
When the Covid19 pandemic was announced, the dental community took a serious look at our current infection control protocols, looking for areas of improvement to ensure everyone’s safety. We have extensively reviewed CDC recommendations and the scientific literature, (especially in regards managing aerosols)and evaluated our infection control safeguards that we currently follow. Based upon these reviews, we already had in place most of the safety recommendations from these studies. In an effort to make our safe protocols even safer, we have implemented several additional safeguards in our office. These include:
- HEPA air filters in the waiting and treatment areas,
- pre-appointment and day of appointment health screenings for all patients,
- Minimizing the number of people in the waiting area to allow social distancing,
- pre-treatment mouth rinse with an anti-bacterial, anti-viral mouthwash.
- Minimizing production of aerosols through the use of the dental dams when possible, as well as other high volume suction devices, when necessary.
These procedures have been shown in studies to provide an additional level of safety for everyone involved. As you are aware, nothing in life can be completely safe and risk free, but I can assure you thatwith the addition of the new safeguards to our current safety protocols, you can rest assured that we are keeping you as safe as possible when you trust us with your dental care.
If you have any questions or concerns regarding the safety of dental care, please feel free to give us a call. We will be happy to answer your questions.
Dr Burke and Team at Advanced Dental Solutions