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Dentists Practice Infection Control — for Your Health & Safety!

Dentists Practice Infection Control — for Your Health & Safety!

MDA dentists place your well-being above all else. As healthcare providers, your dentist and their team practice infection prevention and control measures designed to keep you safe.

Dentists follow dental care specific CDC guidelines to prevent the spread of infection and disease. This is just one of the many ways dentists help keep you and your family healthy.


What You Need to Know About Dental Care & COVID-19 (the Novel Coronavirus)

Right now, COVID-19 (or the novel coronavirus) is on everyone's mind. There are many precautions and disease prevention measures already in place across the state. This may leave you wondering: "Is it still safe to go to the dentist?"

Our answer: Yes … For most people it is still perfectly safe to go to the dentist if you need care.  If you haven’t been exposed to the coronavirus, have not been quarantined due to the virus, and show no symptoms of illness, you should seek treatment if you need it.  However, to help prevent the spread of coronavirus, your dentist may choose to temporarily limit dental care to emergencies only.  

  • Who should wait to go to the dentist: As a precaution, the CDC recommends that certain people avoid leaving the house right now. This includes non-emergency visits to the dentist and the doctor. This preventative measure applies to:
    • Those with compromised immune systems and certain pre-existing conditions
    • People with heart disease, lung disease, kidney disease, and diabetes
    • The elderly

Unless it 's an urgent dental need or emergency, it 's better for these patients to remain at home.

  • Who should reschedule their dental appointment: If you have been sick with COVID-19 or have been exposed to the virus and are in self-quarantine, wait at least two weeks before going to the dentist. Once this period is over and you are cleared to leave your house, it 's okay for you to go to get dental treatment.
  • Stay home if you have the following symptoms: The CDC and your dentist also advise that patients with a cough, fever, or flu-like symptoms stay home and limit social interaction.

If you 're concerned about receiving dental care right now, call your dentist 's office. They know you and can answer any specific questions you may have about your treatment.

In this time of concern, it 's reassuring to know that your dentist always upholds strict disease preventing infection control standards. It 's part of their commitment to you as a dental care provider.

Read on to learn how your dentist and their staff keep you and your family safe at every visit.


Dental Infection Controls Prevent the Spread of Infection & Disease

All dental staff who treat patients are trained in infection prevention methods. Your dentist and their staff uphold infection control guidelines set by The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

These infection prevention and control recommendations for dental treatment include:

  • Exam room disinfection protocols
  • Proper hand washing and hand hygiene techniques
  • The wearing of clean personal protective equipment
  • The use of sterilized dental instruments


How Dentists Keep You & Your Family Safe From Infection at Every Visit

Your dental team 's efforts to prevent infection start before you even sit in the dentist's chair. In fact, these standards are so essential that they 're technically the first step in your care! Once you enter the exam room, your dentist — and everyone on your dental care team — follow infection control protocols at all times. Every day. For every patient.


What gets disinfected before you sit in the dentist 's chair

In between every patient — yes, every patient— your dental care team takes steps to prevent the spread of infection and illness. Before you enter the treatment room, dental staff clean and disinfect all surfaces and change any protective covers on the equipment.

This means the following are always cleaned, disinfected, or changed before you enter the treatment room:

  • Dental treatment chair
  • Dental light
  • Instrument tray and all dental instruments
  • Drawers and countertop surfaces
  • All protective coverings


Dentists, dental hygienists, and dental assistants maintain proper hand hygiene

Proper hand hygiene is the first defense against the spread of disease. In between patients, dentists and their treating staff wash their hands and change their gloves. In fact, they do this every time they leave and come back into the exam room!


Your dental care team changes their personal protective gear every time they treat a patient

Dentists and their team wear garments to create a protective barrier between them and their patients. These sterile, disposable items are changed in between patients to prevent the spread of infection:

  • Disposable gloves
  • Disposable masks
  • Disposable gowns
  • Sterilized protective eyewear (when necessary for certain procedures)


Dental tools are always clean and sterile — disposable items are never reused

Dental offices follow strict sterilization practices to ensure tools are clean and safe. All non-disposable dental instruments are sterilized between patients using special machines and equipment.

Disposable instruments and needles come from sealed, sterile packs. All disposable instruments and needles are properly disposed of after one-time use. No disposable tool is ever reused!


Have questions about your dentist 's infection control procedures? Ask away!

If you have questions about infection control protocol, just ask your dentist. Dentists are friendly, chatty folks. And if there 's one thing they love talking about — it 's proper dental care procedures and protocol!

For more information on infection control in the dental setting, visit the CDC or, view the Infection Control Slide Show from The American Dental Association.

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