To protect your health, we adhere to what is called "universal precautions." That means we use the same protective measures with every patient to prevent the transmission of viruses or bacteria that cause infectious diseases.
These universal precautions include:
Some of these precautions are readily visible to you during a dental visit. You'll be able to note the general cleanliness of the office, the use of masks and gloves, special waste containers, and our frequent hand washing. Other precautions, such as sterilization and disinfection are performed before your visit.
Dental offices use various methods to sterilize and disinfect in order to kill bacteria and viruses. Our staff is trained in these procedures and their appropriate use.
There are several acceptable methods of sterilization of instruments. For example, instruments that can withstand high temperature may be sterilized in a steam autoclave, which uses steam and high pressure, or with dry heat in an oven-like environment. Other instruments that can't be heated are scrubbed clean then sterilized or disinfected in chemical solutions. These methods of sterilization kill microscopic organisms capable of causing diseases.
We use disinfection procedures on surfaces and equipment that cannot be removed for cleaning and sterilization, such as countertops, drawer handles, x-ray unit heads, and light handles. A chemical agent, registered with the Environmental Protection Agency as a hospital disinfectant, is used in the dental office. Disinfection is done in the treatment room between patients to assure the operatory is absolutely clean for each patient.
The use of disposable items is another way we maintain a clean and safe office. Many dental materials such as gloves, masks, wipes, paper drapes, needles, and scalpel blades are used only once then disposed of properly.