Infection Control

A SPECIAL STATEMENT REGARDING THE CORONAVIRUS

Our office is aware that the Coronavirus demands that we all take special precautions to reduce the risk of contagion at home and in public places. Progressive Dentistry is particularly qualified to keep our patients, their families, and our Team safe. We strictly follow guidelines from both the American Dental Association and the Center for Disease Control. Our patients can take comfort in knowing that we are concerned about your overall health and well-being as well as your oral needs.

As of March 20, 2020, Governor Cuomo has mandated that all dental offices only perform essential and emergency services until April 19, 2020, at which point the situation will be reevaluated. While these restrictions are in place, we will be strictly following all NYS, CDC and ADA guidelines. We ask that all emergency patients notify us upon their arrival and wait in their cars. When we are ready to see you, we will call or come out to get you.

Once restrictions are lifted we will return to our normal scheduling. We appreciate your understanding during these trying times. Thank you!

SMART DISINFECTION AND SAFETY PRECAUTIONS

COVID-19 spreads by person to person contact. It is important not to come into contact with the respiratory droplets of others. The Coronavirus is a rather heavy virus which means it does not travel far in the air. The CDC has recommended that you remain at least 6 feet from others. However, studies have shown that the virus can travel up to 12 feet in still air

 If you are sick with COVID-19 wear a facemask to protect others from your respiration.

 If you are not sick do not wear a facemask! Facemasks are in critically short supply and should be reserved only for caregivers. Common facemasks are not especially effective against the virus. N95 surgical masks are intended only for surgical, dental or medical procedures.

Especially when you are in a public place, DO NOT TOUCH YOUR FACE! The Coronavirus is mainly a respiratory virus. It needs access to your body through your eyes, nose or mouth. One study of 26 individuals found that, on average, they touched their faces 23 times per hour! 41% of the facial touches were of the eyes, nose or mouth.

The virus has a lipid (fatty) outer layer that is destroyed by common hand soap. It is critical that you thoroughly wash your hands once you return home. If you are at home and have coughed or sneezed into your hands, or have blown your nose, wash your hands thoroughly for 20 seconds even if you are symptom-free. If you are harboring the virus, you do not want to potentially infect others living with you.

Use a tissue when you cough or sneeze or the inside of your elbow. Immediately, throw the tissue away and wash your hands for at least 20 seconds or use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol

All publicly touched items potentially carry the virus: doorknobs, hand-rails, credit card machines, cash machines, gas pumps, shopping carts and so forth.  Bring disinfecting wipes with you when possible and use them. Anything you touch in your car afterward will also be contaminated. Wash your hands as soon as you return home!

Clothing: The coronavirus can remain viable on clothing for hours to days so one needs to be particularly cautious if you are or think you’re contagious, or have been in a public place where your clothing has touched potentially contaminated surfaces. Here’s a link that tells you how to care for your clothes during this crisis:

https://www.huffpost.com/entry/how-long-coronavirus-live-clothing-washing_l_5e724927c5b6eab779409e74

The National Institutes of Health found that the coronavirus can last for up to 24 hours on cardboard and up to 3 days on metal or plastic.

Frequently touched surfaces at home should be cleaned and disinfected daily. This includes keyboards, phones, kitchen tables, countertops, cabinet handles, light switches, sinks, toilets, door knobs, medicine cabinets and so forth.

Here is an article with a list of common household disinfectants:

https://www.cnn.com/2020/03/05/health/epa-disinfectants-coronavirus-trnd/index.html

The complete list of disinfectants to use against the coronavirus:

https://www.epa.gov/sites/production/files/2020-03/documents/sars-cov-2-list_03-03-2020.pdf

 USA Today has an article, “Your smartphone is 7 times dirtier than your toilet. Here’s how to clean it. Read it here:

https://www.usatoday.com/story/tech/2019/02/26/your-smartphone-screen-probably-disgusting-heres-how-clean/2950106002/

Create a family action plan with an emergency contact list should anyone in your household get critically ill. This list should include family, friends, neighbors, alternate caregivers, doctors, and local hospitals.

Stay at home whenever possible. Take walks with your family. Take bike rides (There’s so little traffic these days.). If you and your children meet friends on the street keep a minimum of 6 feet apart. The further the better.

One of the best online resources for accurate and helpful information is on the Center for Disease Control website:

https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html

 ****************************************************************************************************

Infection controls and universal precautions protect clients and staff alike. Everyone benefits from rigorous infection control – you, your dentist, and the dental team. The cornerstone in a good and safe dental practice is the element of trust. You should feel free to discuss this topic with Dr. Levy and receive a straightforward answer.

Dr. Levy and our entire team follow procedures recommended by several professional and federal agencies: the American Dental Association (ADA), the New York State Dental Association (NYSDA), the Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA), the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). These measures include:

  • Disinfectant hand soap
  • Gloves and face masks
  • Chemical disinfection of countertops and surfaces
  • Sterilization of all equipment before every use
  • Disposable materials

We sterilize all reusable equipment, including dental hand pieces. We use an autoclave, a device that kills bacteria and viruses by steam, heat and pressure. To further insure your health, each week an outside laboratory spore tests our autoclave to be certain all bacteria are killed. This is to verify that it is functioning as designed and documented in a written report.

The best defense against disease is information. The more you know, the better equipped you are to make wise decisions about your health care. The more you know about our daily procedures and policies, the more comfortable you will feel.