We know you may have concerns about visiting a dental office during COVID-19, so we've prepared some information to help you get the information you need to help you feel routinely safe during treatment.
We work very hard at Advanced Dentistry with a Gentle Touch to ensure your safety and health during dental treatment and will be happy to show you what we do to protect against disease transmission.
Dentists are routinely exposed to several occupational hazards, including exposure to infections, hepatitis, ionizing radiation, eye injuries, allergic reactions, psychological and stress challenges. As a result, we are acutely aware of our patients concerns relating to these and other matters and take every precaution in their behalf, as we do for our own families, who also are patients in our practice.
The same practices that we use to prevent the spread of influenza—which is already a part of a dental clinic’s standard operations—also prevent the spread of coronavirus.
We are also adding extra layers of protection following the CDC recommendations
1. Screen all patients for recent travel
2. Verify when the patient returned to the United States.
3. Patients who are experiencing acute respiratory illness, including symptoms of fever, cough or shortness of breath, are advised to remain home and reschedule appointments.
4. Adhere to the American Dental Association's informational handout for dentists on coronavirus COVID-19.
5. Follow the guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
6. Adhere to respiratory hygiene/cough etiquette infection control measures to help prevent the transmission of all respiratory infections
7. We check for updates on the CDC's coronavirus infection control page for health care professionals.
8. Monitor our supply of personal protective equipment. Our relationships with our long-term suppliers have made sure that we are well stocked with the equipment that we require to maintain our routinely strict infection control practices.
Frequently Asked Questions
1) Do you heat-sterilize all your instruments, including handpieces ("dental drills"), between patients?
When I graduated dental school in 1982, I realized the importance of proper infection control. Even in dental school, I used gloves for every patient, and had to endure a good deal of raised eyebrows as a result. In those days dentists performed dental procedures without wearing gloves and were called wet fingered dentists! In addition, I always heat sterilized all handpieces from the start of may practice. This resulted in higher costs, but I always put the safety of my patients at the same level I would want for myself. When the subsequent health crises put handpiece sterilization in the public eye, and caused a shortage of dental handpieces, we were already fully stocked with handpieces and just continued our best practices without having to delay treatments. We have continued this practice without interruption to the present day.
2) How do you know that the sterilizer is working properly?
Our clinical protocols include a heat sensitive test that is placed on the outside of each sterile instrument wrapper as well as a special spore test that is placed in the sterilizer and tested every week by an independent testing agency. We track those results daily and replace any equipment that is found to not be working up to our standards immediately.
3) Do you change your gloves for every patient?
As I indicated above, I was one of the few practitioners that started using gloves right in the very early days of my dental career, before I graduated. Of course, the gloves are only placed after hand washing, which is done with antibacterial soap, both before and after each patient. If a glove is torn or defective it is replaced immediately. Also, we remove gloves before exiting the room, and always replace them upon reentering a new or previous room. We follow the same protocol with masks. You will never see us with a mask hanging under the chin, a practice that is unsanitary. Of course, with the advent of allergies, we have been using high quality non latex gloves for many years.
4) Do you disinfect the surfaces in the operatory between patients?
Before and after every patient and before the stat of the day and at the end of the day we use an OSHA approved high level disinfectant to wipe very patient contact surface as well as counter tops, chairs and arm rests. We also use plastic barriers on any surface that gloves may touch such as light switches and x ray tube heads. We replace these plastic barriers before eating any patient.
5) Waterline contamination biofilm in dental waterline.
We test our waterlines monthly and use OSHA approved disinfectants in each water line to reduce bacterial colony counts to a level below threshold for bacterial colonies in waterlines. As in operatory disinfection our assistants drain the dental waterlines before and after every patient and before the start of the day and at the end of the day, ensuring there is no bacterial buildup by proper waterline drainage and by the frequent use of approved dental waterline disinfectants.
Robert Korwin DMD, MICOI, MAGD is an award-winning dental expert who has served the Middletown-Red Bank-Monmouth County area for over 35 years. His practice offers a full range of general, reconstructive and cosmetic dental procedures with an emphasis on patient comfort. Advanced Dentistry with a Gentle Touch, includes sedation dentistry, and the practice works with individuals to maximize their dental health, ensure their comfort and minimize financial concerns. For more information, please call (732) 219-8900 or book an appointment with Dr. Robert Korwin.