Does your Dentist Protect You Against Cross-infection?

Dr. Parvin Carter

Prevention of cross infection in the dental clinic is a crucial aspect of dental practice and dental clinic workers must adopt certain basic routines while practicing.

Use this checklist to find out how seriously your dentist takes the issue of infection control procedures:

1. Check out the office

A clean, uncluttered office can be an indication of how serious your dentist is about sterilization. If the office is cluttered, it’s harder to clean.

2. Ask your dentist:

— Are operatory rooms (the room where the dental chair is) cleaned between patients? The staff should be disinfecting the surfaces in the operatory between every patient.

— Where do you disinfect instruments? There should be a single room or space in the dental office that is completely dedicated to the disinfection of instruments. Ask your dentist to tell you about this space and what the procedures are.

— How do you sterilize your instruments? Instruments should be sterilized in between each patient, including the dental drill.

3. Ask for autoclave validation

Autoclave performance must be monitored routinely. Three methods of monitoring autoclave performance are available — physical, chemical and biological.Ask your dentist, May I see a copy of your autoclave validation? If your dentist is willing and able to show you this report, this demonstrates a commitment and dedication to protecting your health. If your dentist doesn’t want to show you or gets defensive, this could be a red flag.

4. Check the instruments

Your dentist should be unwrapping a sealed bag of instruments in front of you. A sealed bag indicates that the instruments have been sterilized — or in dental terms, autoclaved — by a machine. If bag is already open, then it’s possible that those are used instruments that contain another person’s germs.

5. Speak up

Never be afraid to ask questions. A good dentist will be proud to tell you of the measures the office takes to ensure your safety, protection and well-being.Ask your dentist: “In your office, how do you guarantee that you do not cross infect patients?” The dentist’s reaction to this alone is telling. The dentist and staff should be dedicated to answering your questions and making you feel comfortable.

In dentistry experience and Continuing Education are everything. Dr. Parvin Carter has over 30 years of experience in Practicing General Dentistry and 25 years in Orthodontics. She has thousands of hours of advanced training. In 2000, Academy of General Dentistry awarded Dr. Carter a Certificate of Mastership (MAGD) in General Dentistry. According to the Journal of the Academy of General Dentistry, only 1% of US dentists achieve this high level of advancement. Dr. Carter is a Certified and Preferred Provider of Invisalign. She has successfully treated over 300 patients with Invisalign.

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