A banner was sent to me stating this,
“Experts states Dentist have the highest risk of transmitting and contracting COVID-19”
Just COVID-19 and just dentist, I asked myself.
The fact is dentists, hygienists, and dental assistants are all exposed to everything the patient brings to the office every day. Biohazard aerosols are most common in dentistry, and it creates a direct and indirect risk for cross-contamination. By the way, hygienists are exposed to aerosol more than dentists and assistants because of the volume they produce.
For over 39 years, I have taught dental professionals the risk of biohazard aerosols in the office and the need to reduced it during procedures. Also, I encouraged the proper use of personal protective equipment, making level three masks the standard mask, and using surgical N95 masks when removing amalgam. I even directed focus on how-to decontaminate surfaces correctly and the importance of reducing clutter on counters.
Preventing cross-contamination is hard work; it takes a good knowledge base to create a solid skill base. Take a look at your office and evaluate what is working and what is not working in reducing unnecessary risk. Reinvent by doing these tasks,
- Revise office Exposure Management policy.
- Establish a Respiratory Protection Plan.
- Update the Infection Prevention Protocols.
- Determent ways of increasing office ventilation.
- Learn everything about personal protective equipment.
- Practice hand washing techniques that produce results.
- Research products that can reduce aerosols during procedures.
- Master surface disinfecting based upon manufacture’s instruction.
In other words, improve the staff’s safety knowledge and skills, and then work together to reduce unnecessary risk in the work environment.
Dentistry is a risky business, always has been and always will be. It is every dental professional’s responsibility to find better and safer ways to provide care to our patients while reducing risk to ourselves, remember it is EVERYONE’S RESPONSIBILITY.
There is no better time than now to work together in making the profession of dentistry better and safer.