UPDATED FOR COVID-19
As a community, we have faced many changes due to coronavirus, but one thing has remained the same: our commitment to your safety.
The cornerstone of a good and safe dental practice is the element of trust. Infection control protects both our patients and our staff and is one of our top priorities. We go to great lengths to make sure that the care you receive is in a clean environment and we have invested in the most advanced sterilization and infection control technology to help us achieve this goal.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), there has never been a report of any cluster of cases of COVID-19 in a dental office or among dental personnel.
Our office follows the infection control recommendations and requirements made by the CDC, American and California Dental Associations (ADA and CDA), and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (Cal-OSHA). We stay up-to-date on any new regulations issued by these agencies. We also seek guidance from both the California and San Mateo Departments of Public Health to evaluate the risk in our local community.
While we have always maintained high standards for sterilization and infection control, we have implemented new protocols to help further reduce the spread of COVID-19.
Standard infection control procedures we have always followed (this is not a complete list):
- Standard Precautions in Dentistry: treat every bodily fluid as if it were potentially contagious
- Environmental surfaces cleaned and disinfected
- Sterilization of all equipment before every use
- Chemical disinfection of countertops and surfaces
- Hand hygiene
- Use of PPE (gloves, masks, eyewear, gowns)
- Respiratory hygiene/cough etiquette
- Safe injection practices
- Proper disposal of sharps and biohazardous materials
- Ozonated water, which is antimicrobial, in all of our dental waterlines
- Kills any viruses, bacteria, fungi, protozoa, and spores that might be present
- High volume suction
- Reduces droplets and aerosols during patient care by as much as 96%
- Infection control and prevention policies
- Education and training for all team members (annually and upon hire)
- Regular inspections and risk assessments
- Routine evaluation of infection control policies
Additional protocols to reduce risk of exposure to COVID-19(this list is continually being evaluated and refined as more research becomes available):
- Daily employee screening before work, including measuring temperature and screening for symptoms
- Patient screening before the patient enters the building
- 2 days before a scheduled appointment and again in-person at appointment
- Temperature is taken
- Hand sanitizer provided
- All patients are asked to wear a face mask at all times in the office before and after dental treatment
- Promote social distancing
- Minimize the number of patients in the office at one time
- Control the flow of patients entering and leaving the office at the same time
- All patients are greeted and escorted through the office, thus eliminating contamination of common surfaces (doorknobs, counters, etc.)
- Increased appointment lengths
- Staggered appointment times
- Some patient appointments may be carried out with tele-dentistry when appropriate
- Eliminate or reduce aerosol production during dental procedures by using alternatives that create minimal or no water spray whenever possible
- Provided all team members 2 full days of training on new PPE and protocols to prepare for the reopening
- N95 masks and face shields available
- Reduced surfaces that could become contaminated
- Removed any items that are difficult to disinfect from the common areas and treatment rooms
- Closed the waiting area, only allowing patients to enter the building
- Barrier placement in and around the administrative area
- Introduced HOCl (Hypochlorous Acid) as an additional disinfectant
- Purchased extraoral dental suction system to further reduce aerosols (Coming in June 2020)
- Optimized our vacuum systems
We appreciate your support when not visiting us for dental care by continuing to observe local ordinances and social distancing to decrease the spread of COVID-19 in our community.
We are happy to answer any questions you may have about the steps we take to keep you, and every patient, safe in our practice.