As the global COVID-19 outbreak continues, many people are left questioning what is safe and what is essential when planning their day to day life. These questions have permeated the dental world as well, and at Smile Solutions, we are sharing important information with our patients regarding their dental care.
Infection control and patient safety has always been a cornerstone of dental practice. In fact, Australian dental practitioners have the highest infection control standards in the world. Each individual on the team at Smile Solutions is trained to comply with these national standards of infection control, at each visit, every day.
Coronavirus is not the first infectious disease that dentists have had to face, and our strict infection control protocol reflects our long history of treating patients with all kinds of medical backgrounds and histories. Stringent Personal Protective Equipment (that includes masks, gloves, and gowns) has been a daily part of providing dental care well before it’s news coverage and association with Coronavirus. After each visit, masks and gloves are disposed of, used equipment is run through the autoclave or disposed of, and every surface of the surgery is disinfected. This is completed in the same way for each appointment.
Where appropriate, we have also taken some extra precautions. These include:
> Strengthened cleaning procedures, including actively promoting the regular use of antibacterial hand sanitiser with patients and increasing the frequency of the cleaning of common areas within Smile Solutions
> Screening patients, and requesting patients reschedule their appointment if they have been in contact with someone confirmed or suspected to have COVID-19, have travelled internationally in the last 14 days, or are or have recently been unwell, including experiencing any flu-like symptoms;
> Touch free temperature checks for our patients and staff
> Pre-treatment antiseptic mouthwash for patients
> Working under dental dams to minimise the amount of saliva that leaves a patient’s mouth
> Avoiding the use of certain equipment, where appropriate, that produce aerosols
> Limiting the kind or procedures performed, where appropriate, to reduce aerosols
“Dental is essential” – but why?
There are two main disease processes in dentistry – gum disease, and decay. Neither of these resolve by themselves as teeth cannot heal themselves. Once the disease begins, it can only progress.
It is vital that your dentist can note and manage these disease processes before they progress to later stages. These later stages of dental disease may mean pain, infection, swelling, loss of teeth, and they may require more complex treatment such as root canal treatment.
A significant number of patients both young and old have also shared that since studying or working from home, their routine has been disrupted, and so they are snacking more, and cleaning less. With lifestyle changes like these, there is a risk of changes in the mouth as well.
So – feel free to pick up your phone and book in a visit to see your dentist. They will be open and ready to help you and to provide reassurance and care in a safe and clean environment.