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Understanding Standard Dental Office Hygiene Procedures

dental office hygiene

Fear of the dentist is incredibly common, even though modern dentistry is nearly pain free. For many people, though, the fear isn’t necessarily of pain, but of the sights, sounds, and smells of a dental office. Others worry about germs. Whichever fear you have, understanding the hygiene procedures that dental offices follow can help. Here is what you should know.

General Precautions

Modern dental offices are clean and well-kept, with sweeping, mopping, and vacuuming taking place frequently. But because it is a medical facility, your dental office goes far beyond these basic cleaning procedures.

Dentists, dental technicians, and hygienists wear gloves whenever they come into contact with a patient’s mouth. This protects them from germs the patient may be carrying, but it also protects you against any germs that might be on their hands. Depending on the procedure you are having, they may also wear disposable face masks and gowns. Just like any other medical professional, this protects them from saliva and blood that could splash around, and it protects you from having your dental professional sneeze or cough in your face.

Spray disinfectants are used liberally, both in the waiting room and in the treatment rooms. This helps to guard against common colds and other easily transmitted illnesses.

Reusable dental tools are required by law to undergo an extensive sterilization process between patients. Increasingly, many dentists are using disposable tools instead. That way, they simply have to open a new pack for each patient. If you ever see someone at your dental office using a package of tools that is already open, ask for an explanation.

Protective Eyewear for Patients

Some dentists now provide protective eyewear for their patients, although this is not yet standard. There are a few reasons for this. One is to protect you from the glare of the light, which must be very bright to properly illuminate the back of your mouth.

In addition, dental tools contacting your teeth and gums can cause fluids to splash. Protective eyewear prevents those fluids from getting into your eyes. Likewise, since your dentist or hygienist is always above you, it is smart to protect your eyes from an errant cough or sneeze, especially if the dental professional is not wearing a mask.

Finally, dental tools tend to be sharp and/or heavy. If one is dropped, protective eyewear can ensure that you do not end up with eye damage.

Protective Eyewear for Dental Workers

Likewise, many dental offices now have employees wear protective eyewear or face shields when treating patients. This protects their eyes from your coughs or sneezes, as well as from being splashed with your blood or saliva.

Dental Dams

Many patients find dental dams uncomfortable, but they are very important. Made from thin latex, the dental dam separates the area that is being worked on from the rest of your mouth. This provides the dentist, tech, or hygienist with a clear view of the working area. It also helps to reduce the amount of fluid exchange with the rest of your mouth, making it easier to contain blood and tooth fragments and to clean you up when your procedure is finished.

Want to Learn More?

If you want to learn more about how we can keep your entire family’s smiles in tip top shape, contact Savannah Dental Solutions today at (912) 354-1366 for more information or to schedule an appointment.