Even before the COVID-19 pandemic, your San Diego dentist has always taken infection control seriously. The personal protective equipment you’ve seen them wear during your routine trips to their dental office are used to prevent the spread of germs. During the COVID-19 pandemic, you’ll notice that they’ve enhanced their working wardrobe even more as an additional dental safety protocol. Here are four important items your dental team will be wearing at your next appointment to keep you, the staff, and the entire community safe.
Since a dentist’s hands come in close proximity to all their patients’ mouths, disposable gloves have always been an essential part of keeping everyone involved healthy. Infectious particles, bacteria, and viruses can’t penetrate disposable gloves on either side, which means they protect both the wearer and the patient from spreading germs to each other. After administering care, your dentist is careful not to touch anything and throws them away in a safe receptacle. Then, they wash their hands and put on a brand-new, clean pair of gloves before treating the next patient.
N95 Masks or Respirators
We know that COVID-19 is spread when infected respiratory droplets touch someone’s mouth, nose, or eyes. Unfortunately, this puts dental professionals who perform aerosol-generating treatments at a higher risk of getting sick. While you’ve probably seen your dentist wear a mask before, you may not recognize the N95 masks or respirators they’ll be wearing during the COVID-19 pandemic. These extra layers of filtration over both the mouth and nose hinder the spread of airborne particles. Single-use masks are disposed of between each patient, while reusable ones are sanitized with hospital-strength disinfectants.
Aside from the mouth and nose, the coronavirus can also infect someone by coming in contact with their eyes. To prevent this, your dentist may be wearing a face shield, which is a clear plastic visor that covers most of their face. However, since they don’t form an airtight seal with the wearer’s face, they are often used in conjunction with masks and goggles. Face shields are especially useful in protecting the wearer during treatments that produce splashes or sprays of potentially infected body fluid.
Protective, Single-Use Coats
Occasionally, your dental team may choose to wear a single-use coat as an added layer of protection. This disposable barrier prevents any infected particles from settling onto the wearer’s skin or clothes, which could then be easily spread throughout the entire dental practice. Instead, these coats are thrown away in a secure container after treatment to completely eliminate the possibility of dispersing germs.
To keep you healthy while providing the dental care you need during COVID-19, your dentist and their team may look a little different than the last time you saw them. While their new equipment may seem a little unusual at first, you can feel confident that they are fully prepared to keep you and your smile healthy.
About the Author
Dr. Greg Friedman has over 26 years of experience listening to the dental needs of his patients and creating truly personalized treatments. He and his friendly staff at MOD Squad Dental have always been dedicated to keeping the beautiful smiles of the Scripps Ranch community happy and healthy. They typically show this commitment with excellent, long-lasting dental treatments using state-of-the-art dental technology. However, in these unusual times, they are focusing on improving their already ambitious infection control protocols to ensure you are as safe as possible when visiting them for dental care. If you have any questions or concerns, feel free to contact them via their website or at (858) 682-2394.