COVID aside, most of our patients wonder at some point, “How do I know my dental clinic is clean?” We completely understand your concerns but want you to know dental and dental hygiene offices adhere to some of the highest infection prevention and control standards in the health care field. We have always been scrupulously clean even way before the threat of COVID presented itself.
Many feel we’re obsessed with dental clinic safety. That’s because we follow the best practices and protocols based on standards set by the Ontario regulatory body. While all dental offices must follow these practices, we go above and beyond. It’s how we keep our dental clinic super clean and safe. Here’s a look at the steps we take to ensure you feel confident you’ll never contract an illness at your dental appointment.
Dental Clinic Cleanliness Before You Arrive
Before you arrive, our team takes every possible step to keep you safe. Before your appointment, this includes above and beyond cleaning, including:
- Cleaning your chair, the trays, lights, countertops, handles, and ultrasonic units with super powerful disinfectants
- Using single-use barriers on major touchable surfaces, including your headrest, suction devices, x-ray equipment, your tray where we’ll lay your cleaned, sterilized, individually sealed tools, etc.
- Selecting individualized, wrapped, sterilized instruments especially for your appointment
- Presenting your dental operatory room completely clutter-free with only required equipment and tools within reach of our team
- Purging of the water lines to remove germs and bacteria
Dental Clinic Cleanliness During Your Appointment
Once you arrive, we continue to use the safest practices to ensure your health and safety, including:
- Washing our hands with proper handwashing protocols, wearing a mask, and fresh, single-use gloves
- Only opening your sterile pouch of instruments once treatment is set to begin
- Providing clean safety glasses to protect your eyes (those who wear glasses can choose to wear their own eyewear)
- Changing our gloves or rewashing our hands as required, such as following touching the keyboard or having to open drawers
Dental Clinic Cleanliness Following Your Appointment
All instruments are sterilized after every appointment. We keep records of each instrument’s sterilization cycle so we know the sterilizers are working properly. Everything is wiped down with disinfectant, all garbage and used disposal items are safely disposed of based on recommended protocols, and the room is kept free of patients and unnecessary team members until the next appointment begins. We also have puncture-resistant sharps containers in our operatories to ensure all disposable sharps are transported to our reprocessing area safely.
Our trays and tools are also covered when transporting instruments for reprocessing. Anything designated for single use is carefully identified and disposed of to ensure it is never put into our reprocessing cycle or reused. Immediately after tools or equipment are used, they are pre-cleaned to make it safer to bring them to the reprocessing area. In some cases where this is not possible, we place them in a container that keeps them moist so debris can’t harden. Because some of our equipment is quite complex with multiple pieces, we take them apart so they can be cleaned and sanitized thoroughly.
How Do I Know My Dental Clinic Uses Clean Tools?
Our dental office has a designated reprocessing area where each sterilization and instrument prep step is handled. We also use what is called a one-way workflow where we always work dirty to clean to prevent cross-contamination. Our designated areas include:
- Receiving, cleaning, and decontamination of instruments
- Preparation and packaging of clean instruments
- Safe storage of sterilized pouches
Sterile dental/medical equipment and devices are stored in their sterile packaging until we use them. All equipment and devices are sterilized using an approved sterilization process. Things such as handpieces and heat-tolerant reusable items are heat-sterilized between uses. Anything and everything that is sterile is stored properly so it remains clean and dry, and is never exposed to possible contamination from splashing.
Reprocessing Area Features
Some of the features and steps used that keep our reprocessing area extra safe include:
- An extra deep sink to avoid too much splashing.
- Special flat, cut-resistant, seamless work surfaces that are non-porous so they can be safely cleaned and disinfected.
- Dedicated handwashing sinks for team members involved in the reprocessing work.
- A regular environmental cleaning schedule and written policy for keeping our designated reprocessing area impeccable.
- A written policy outlining the entire procedure and who is responsible for each defined task.
- We keep all contaminated equipment, tools, and devices in a completely separate area from clean items ready for patient use.
- We use a washer/disinfector or ultrasonic cleaner for all mechanical cleaning.
- We follow recommended cleaning procedures for every single device in our clinic and reprocessing area, whether that means mechanical flushing, using a special detergent, proper drying, friction-based cleaning methods, using enzymatic solutions, etc.
- We test our ultrasonic cleaners daily to ensure they meet the requirements for sonification performance in accordance with standards set by the province.
When in doubt, we throw it out!
Using Single-Use Items For Safety
To reduce the risk of contamination, we also use as many single-use items as possible. This includes things such as prophylaxis angles, air/water syringe tips and high-volume suction tips. This reduces exposure to instruments and devices used by other patients. Despite our obsessive cleaning and sterilizing, we believe single-use items that have never been used provide our patients with peace of mind. In fact, even our newly purchased tools and devices are inspected and reprocessed just to be safe. This ensures there is no question that everything is sterile before use.
Our Super Staff Is How We Keep Our Dental Clinic Super Clean And Safe
We ensure every team member at Bradford Family Dentistry receives the level of education, training, and certification required to maintain the highest standards of cleanliness in our dental clinic. Each person understands their role in keeping our office area, operatory rooms, bathrooms, and reprocessing areas clean. We use organizational risk assessment to determine the most critical areas where the risk for contamination is high and up our efforts to ensure everyone is following the strictest protocols. This isn’t a one-time training process. We are committed to providing continuing education programs for reprocessing at regular intervals or as needed so that everyone maintains the highest level of knowledge and skills.
We hope this information provides peace of mind when visiting our office. If you have any questions about our cleaning process, please don’t hesitate to ask.