Dental Infection Control
By: Renee Mcnally, BS, RDA, CDA, COA, SOA, CPFDA, Compliance Specialist
Our Accreditation Status is a Reflection of High Standards
As a dental patient, your primary concern is most likely to find the dentist who will provide the best dental care for you and your family. Choosing a dentist who takes care of your needs in a friendly and professional manner is indeed important. However, there are plenty behind-the-scenes processes that you may not see, but are still just as important to providing quality care as the procedure or exam itself!
September is Dental Infection Control Awareness Month, so it’s a great time to highlight the important role that infection control plays in dentistry.
What is Dental Infection Control?
Infection control refers to the measures that clinics take before, during and after dental care to ensure patients are healthy and safe.
You deserve to receive care at a dental clinic where the staff takes the necessary precautionary methods to prevent injury and infection. When you’re choosing a dentist, it’s important to make sure they follow safety standards and infection control procedures, including the following:
- Sterilization practices: making instruments safe for use through a standard process
- Proper hand hygiene methods
- Wearing of personal protective equipment (PPE) such as lab coats, masks, gloves, and safety glasses
You should be confident when you sit down in the dental chair that your dentist has done all of these things. Infection control procedures are not just for hospitals and physicians, but for dental clinics too. Since dentists are health care providers as well, you should have the same expectations for care when you go to the dentist as you would a physician.
We’re proud that Dental Associates is a leader in exceeding dental infection control standards and ensuring our patients receive dental care in the safest manner possible.
Infection Control at Dental Associates Clinics
Not only do our clinics adhere to the infection control standards recommended by the CDC (Center for Disease Control and Prevention), but we go one step further to keep our patients safe in our clinics—no matter if they’re receiving a dental exam or an extensive oral surgery procedure.
- All of our clinics are nationally accredited through the Accreditation Association for Ambulatory Health Care (AAAHC). We achieved this rare status by exceeding the highest national standards for patient care and infection control
- Each clinic has its own sterilization department to ensure we have complete control over who handles our instruments and how they’re sterilized
- Each of our clinics has a designated safety coordinator who leads the clinic in following strict infection control processes. We also have dedicated dental assistants whose only job is to sterilize instruments. They are our resident experts and are essential to our infection control operations
- As the compliance specialist and part of the quality assurance department for all 14 of our clinics, I make quarterly visits to provide onsite support and to ensure high quality infection prevention standards are met. As a whole, Dental Associates is committed to keeping current with cutting edge information and research related to dental infection control
We also perform additional chairside infection control methods for every patient. Here are some small but very important things you may notice:
- We offer our patients eye protection during procedures and regular cleanings
- We use an Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) registered product to provide safe dental water
- We sanitize our work spaces between each patient. This includes not only disinfecting the dental chair, but also trays and counter spaces
Next time you go to a Dental Associates clinic, pay attention to what’s happening around you and see if you can pick up on some of these important infection control methods. Also, ask your dentist, hygienist, or assistant to explain the importance of infection control and what role they play in it. We pride ourselves on this high level of quality as we feel it sets us apart from most dental providers in Wisconsin.
Learn more about dental infection control.