We are now a full year into the COVID-19 pandemic. Our infection control policies, procedures, and protocol became far more stringent when we reopened last spring after the pandemic shutdown mandated by the State of Texas. However, as we learn more about the virus, we continue to revise policies and adjust our infection control response, so that we are doing everything possible at Advanced Smile Care to eliminate the risk of contracting the virus at our practice. “Advanced Smile Care is following all CDC guidelines to make sure every patient is as safe as possible,” said Dr. Tony Thomas, lead dentist at Advanced Smile Care of North San Antonio. Here’s are four measures we are taking to combat COVID-19 at our office.
#1 Constant CDC Updates
The CDC regularly updates its guidance for dental offices not only for patient safety, but also to keep our employees safe. On the CDC website, there are recommend ways for “dental settings” to beef up infection control, give guidance on what PPE should be worn, updated tips on hand hygiene, equipment considerations, engineering controls, environmental infection controls, sterilization of equipment, and education along with training. “We follow every CDC recommendations to the letter,” said Dr. Thomas. “Doing anything less would be risky for our patients and our employees.”
#2 Dental offices report low rates of pandemic infections
The American Dental Association reports that it remains safe to receive care from a dentist. The ADA published a study that reports that fewer than one percent of dentists nationwide have been found to be COVID-19 positive, which is far less than that of other health professionals. “Even though dentistry is commonly thought to be a high-risk profession when it comes to the virus, dentists nationwide have long taken strong steps to mitigate the risks of infection, and studies like these prove that the steps we are taking are indeed working,” said Dr. Thomas.
#3 PPE and all instruments have been stepped up
Before the pandemic, patients were used to seeing their dentist wearing a mask and gloves, and patients themselves were asked to wear protective eyewear as a splashguard. “We’ve taken those layers of protection and ratcheted them up big time,” said Dr. Thomas. According to Mouth Healthy, PPE at a dentist is all about infection control. It starts with disinfecting all surfaces in the examining room from the dental chair to the dental light, drawer handles and countertops, and even placing protective covers on equipment which is replaced after each patient. When it comes to dental tools such as needles, as well as gloves, masks, gowns, and eyewear, none of those items is reused. After every patient, we start with a fresh set of PPE and use a new, sanitized treatment room with freshly sterilzed equipment.
#4 Advanced Smile Care patients asked to do their part
Advanced Smile Care is following ADA recommendations when it comes to screening patients before they reach a examination room,” said Dr. Thomas. The ADA recommends the dental office ask appropriate questions to screen patients for COVID-19, such as asking if the patient traveled internationally in the last 14 days, or has been around anybody who is under investigation for COVID-19. Dental practices are also advised to ask if their patients are experiencing any symptoms which are indicators of COVID-19. The ADA says special consideration should be given to patients who respond “yes” to any of our screening questions. Their temperature is also taken at the front desk as soon as they walk through the front door. By taking all of these factors into consideration, it should be clear to any patient that Advanced Smile Care is doing anything we can to keep you as safe as possible. Of course, if any patient still has any doubts about going to a dentist because of COVID-19, you are always welcome to call Advanced Smile Care and ask any questions to ease your mind.
COME SEE US
Extraordinary care and top-tier comfort for our patients represent foundational principles at Advanced Smile Care. For nearly 40-years, our team led by Dr. Tony Thomas DDS, has been San Antonio’s premier dental practice for creating transformational smiles. Whether you need a cavity filled or a full set of dental implants, cosmetic treatment or require sedation dentistry, our team promises to provide you with the care you deserve. As we like to say, “It shouldn’t hurt to smile.”