Stepping into a Boerne dental office, you might have checked out the doctor’s credentials, the office’s website, and the staff’s facebook page, but how do you know if the office is in compliance with all of the infection control standards? Just ask!
Though each office may have slightly different protocols, your safety, the staff’s safety, and their families’ safety always takes high priority. They don’t want you to get sick, they don’t want to become sick themselves, nor do they want to carry any germs or bacteria home to their loved ones.
Annual training sessions and a daily checklist and are essential to a well-run infection control program. Each team member is held accountable and all disinfection and sterilization methods are monitored. Each phase of the office’s infection-control program is dictated by standard OSHA guidelines and up-to-date information from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Dental instruments are wrapped individually, or in sets, and are sterilized (by heat, steam, or chemical) in cassette cases, bags, or pouches. Each week, the sterilizer must be tested and the results sent to an outside testing facility to ensure that the machine is functioning properly. There is also an indicator for each sterilization bag or pouch to ensure that the contents were sterilized. At your request, a team member will be happy to show you a sterilization bag and test strip. Once the instruments have been opened and used, the entire sterilization procedure must be repeated for the next patient.
Regardless of each patient’s health status, the same optimal infection control procedures are followed consistently. All instruments are sterilized. If they cannot be sterilized, they must be disposable and cannot be used on more than one patient. Hand-washing, personal protective equipment, and high-level disinfectants help to round out the requirements of an effective infection control policy.
The infection protocols and safety procedures are so ingrained in the minds and habits of the dental team that they preform, that they may not think of mentioning them during your treatment. But, just ask! Everyone in the Boerne dental office is trained to comply with the highest standards of care when it comes to preventing the transmission of diseases, and they will be more than happy share the information with you.