What Does a Sanitary and Safe Dental Practice Look Like?

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Recently the Oklahoma Board of Dentistry conducted an investigation of a dentist’s office which revealed that 7000 patients had been exposed to HIV, hepatitis B and hepatitis C over the past six years.  Although it is an isolated event, it reminded me of a similar case in Florida in the early 1990’s, as well as a recent case, here in Colorado.   I thought it might be helpful to you to know what a sanitary and safe dental practice looks like.  Here is a list of 10 checkpoints.

  • Does the dental team inform you of their procedures around prevention of infection?
  • How clean is the entire office? A practice of being clean extends from the nearest counter to the farthest corners. What do you observe?
  • If you ask to see the sterilization area, do they show it to you? Is it clean, uncluttered, neat?
  • Ask about their sterilization practices – how do they test and monitor their sterilizers? It should be at least weekly.
  • What visible signs of infection prevention do you see? For example, are the instruments individually packaged?
  • Does the dental team use personal protective equipment for you and for them?
  • Does the dental team wash their hands?
  • Is the office’s employee safety training up to date, including updated OSHA-required infection/exposure control plans?
  • Are there infection prevention procedures, for example protocols for cleaning and disinfecting treatment rooms, and instrument cleaning and sterilization.
  • Does the office cleaning crew use appropriate products for cleaning and disinfection.

SmileLogic is among the vast majority of dental practices that offer patients a safe and sanitary environment.  We are happy to discuss this and any other questions you many have about our general practice procedures at any time.

– Thanks to Mary Govoni of Productive Dentist Academy for ideas for this article.