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.