Patient Safety Is Our Priority
At Dental Distinction, we understand that offices can no longer proceed with care the same way we did even just a few months ago. Our office has ALWAYS exceeded CDC standards, and we plan on continuing to do so. During the coronavirus pandemic, our team has developed an improved infection control plan to ensure that our office continues to be the safest, cleanest office in the Chester Springs area. Our infection control protocol, and equipment includes the following:
- All patients answer a screening questionnaire prior to arrival. Appointments rescheduled if risk of patient transmission of illness, including COVID-19 has been determined.
- All team members are screened at the start of each day
- Plexi-glass barrier upon exiting at the front desk to reduce spread of germs in an area where social distancing may be compromised.
- Increased efforts to disinfect throughout our office and reception area. Wiping down countertops, touch screens and credit card machines after each use and regularly disinfecting bathrooms, furniture, doors and handles.
- Reduction in the number of people allowed in the reception area at one time.
- Improved traffic flow upon entering and exiting the office by use of all entrances and exits.
- Reduction in the number of patients treated simultaneously.
- Increase in the time between patient visits to allow for more through disinfection.
- Enhanced disinfecting protocol in our exam rooms including additional disposable barriers changed between patients, all surfaces disinfected with Cavicide chemical germicide between each patient with appropriate application times.
- Additional manpower to focus solely on sterilization and disinfection.
- Increased PPE for all staff who provide dental care including face shields, and N95 masks.
- Improved air filtration in the HVAC system to remove germs from the air utilizing an Aerus air scrubber with HEPA filtration and UV light to destroy pathogens.
- Aerosol control through High Volume Evacuation (HVE) during dental procedures using the VacuLUX HVE Adapter which helps remove over 90% of aerosols created during procedures.
- Additional aerosol control using Vanguard Gold Extraoral Chairside Suction with HEPA and Charcoal filtration to help remove and destroy any residual aerosols.
When choosing a dental office, patients should ask the following questions:
Is the office utilizing any extra precautions to protect the safety of all of the guests?
The short answer is YES! We are extending the amount of time between patient appointments to allow for extra disinfection and to reduce the likelihood of person to person contact. We have reassigned specific team members to have the sole responsibility to provide impeccable infection control to keep patients and staff safe at all times. We have always exceeded CDC standards and we have further improved our disinfecting protocols to continue to exceed CDC standards. Hand sanitizer is located at the entrance and exit, as well as in the treatment rooms for use at any time. Patients are asked to rinse with a peroxide solution before any procedures. Peroxide has been shown to kill coronaviruses in saliva.
Is the reception area still in use? Are there any other precautions being utilized in the reception room? How many people are permitted in the reception room at a single time?
At this time, we have asked patients to wait in their car and call upon arrival. We ask that patients arrive by themselves. If a parent or caretaker must accompany a patient for an appointment, we are limiting the reception room capacity to 1 individual at a time. The more patients gathered in a reception area, the less likely it is to observe proper social distancing and the more likely it is for germs to spread.
How are the front desk areas being maintained? Is there a cleaning schedule?
Door handles, pin pads, countertops and iPads are being wiped with a medical grade disinfectant after each and every patient enters and leaves the area. If a pen is needed, one is provided to the patient and will not be reused. Viruses are easily spread through dirty common areas.
Does the office screen for COVID 19?
Dental Distinction is asking all patients to answer a questionnaire to rule out potential exposure of the coronavirus. Additionally, external temperature readings are recorded. We ask that any patients who are feeling sick, please stay home. We will delay any treatments for any patients suspected to have coronavirus. In addition, staff members at Dental Distinction are screened daily upon arrival at the office for the work day.
How many patients are being seen at the same time within the office (ie, what is the volume of patients being seen)?
At the current time, we have modified our scheduling to limit the number of patients seen simultaneously. Larger offices with multiple dentists and hygienists working concurrently can lead to an overwhelming amount of uncontrolled aerosols that can not be properly disinfected. High volume offices with shorter treatment times, treating many patients, are also susceptible to the same issue.
What type of air purification does the office have?
Because we value our patient’s health, we have taken the extra step of installing an Aerus Air Scrubber to our HVAC system. Not only does the system have HEPA filtration, the highest level of air filtration possible to handle the smallest air particles up to 99.9%, it also utilizes UV light to neutralize any additional air particles that may not be picked up by the HEPA filter. The same technology is used on NASA space shuttles. Without proper air purification, germs can be recycled for all to breathe.
What type of disinfectants are being used in the treatment areas and how long does it take to clean a room?
We have always used Cavicide, which is a hospital grade disinfectant proven to be effective against coronaviruses. Some offices may use inferior products due to costs and supply chain issues, but we will never compromise patient safety here. Each brand of disinfectant requires a certain amount of application time to be effective in killing viruses and bacteria. If the proper amount of time is not observed, the disinfectant will be ineffective. Because of our patient volume control measures, we always allow the appropriate amount of time for our products to work.
What types of personal protective equipment (PPE) are the staff members utilizing? In addition, do they launder their treatment attire on site?
We always use clean, disposable gloves that are changed multiple times throughout a patient visit. The clinical staff wears the highest filtration masks available to protect both the patient and the user. We also use face shields as another barrier of protection. We have always laundered our work attire on site. If not, it would be possible to carry germs from other places into the office, putting patients and other staff members at risk. Patients are always asked to wear safety glasses and are offered single use face towels and hand sanitizer upon conclusion of a visit.
What technologies or methods are being used to handle the production of aerosols?
While studies have not been able to link the spread of COVID 19 through aerosols, studies have shown that COVID 19 can be spread via large droplets, like saliva. To keep our office at the highest levels for cleanliness and sterility, we have added new equipment. In addition to typical, dental room suction devices, Dental Distinction has invested in the Vaculux intra oral suctioning system that cuts down on 90% of aerosols produced during a dental visit. Also, we have invested in the Vanguard Gold extra oral suctioning system with HEPA filtration to catch additional aerosols. Proudly, both of these products are made in the USA. Dr Petkevis has utilized dental dams for years during restorative dental visits, and will continue to do so as studies have shown that they reduce the potential for the spread of germs.