When the pandemic began to hit the US, we started seeing businesses forced to close their doors and others voluntarily close (we fell into the latter category) out of precaution and to attempt to flatten the curve and slow the spread of COVID-19. Since that time many businesses have gotten a crash course in basic infection control, but what you may not realize is that many of these precautions that have been put into place have been basic protocols dental teams have been taking all along. . . and since then we been taking even more stringent measures to keep you safe and healthy when you visit our office. Preliminary reports on COVID-19 infection rates in dentists are now in. . . and the news is looking good.
According to the ADA, less than 1% of dentists nationwide were estimated to be COVID-19 positive as of June of this year. “This is very good news for dentists and patients,” said Dr. Marcelo Araujo, Ph.D., CEO of the ADASRI, chief science officer of the ADA and senior author of the report. “This means that what dentists are doing — heightened infection control and increased attention to patient and dental team safety — is working.”
What are some precautions we’re taking at SLO Smiles?
We have always:
- Followed all infection control recommendations made by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA and Cal-OSHA), the American Dental Association (ADA), the California Department of Health, and the California State Dental Board.
- Utilized one-use disposable supplies such as gloves, headrest covers, saliva ejectors, etc. whenever appropriate.
- Cleaned and heat sterilized all dental instruments and equipment between each patient use.
- Cleaned and disinfected all counter tops, handles, and operatory hard surfaces between each patient use.
- Minimized or eliminated any potentially contaminated aerosols produced by dental procedures with the usage of high-volume suctions.
- Separated dental operatory chairs by more than 10 feet and by the presence of walls and physical barriers.
- Provided hand sanitizers for our patients and visitors.
In addition, we now:
- Screen all patients and visitors for any disease symptoms and with temperature checks.
- Have removed all books, magazines, toys, and coffee service from the reception area to reduce the potential for surface contamination.
- Require all patients and visitors to wear facial coverage in the reception room.
- Require all employees to wear facial masks at all times.
- Maintain safe social distancing between all patients and visitors by strictly controlling patient access and reception room seating.
- No longer allow caregivers, parents (except for very young patients) or siblings to accompany patients in the dental operatory to avoid unwanted contamination of any operatory and office surfaces.
- Meticulously clean, disinfect, and sanitize all dental operatory surfaces including the dental and operator chairs between each patient use.
- Provide additional personal protective equipment (PPE) to all employees.
- Frequently clean and disinfect reception room surfaces throughout the day.
- Have increased the number of hand sanitizing stations throughout the office.
- Continuously monitor the staff health and require daily temperature checks.
- Continuously monitor all federal, state, and local health and infection control guidelines for updated protocols.
At SLO Smiles, your safety and comfort are of the utmost importance to us and you can trust that we are taking every precaution to keep you safe while we continue to keep your smile healthy. After all, whole body health is systemic and a healthy body begins with a healthy mouth. If you’ve been putting off that appointment or are wondering if it’s safe to see us, we hope this helps to put you at ease. And if you’re ever suffering from any anxiety related to visiting our San Luis Obispo dental office, we encourage you to communicate that with us so we can make every effort to ensure your visit with us is stress-free and dare we say it, relaxing. To schedule your appointment with one of our friendly San Luis Obispo dentists today, call us at (805) 541-0550. . . we can’t wait to see you!