How we protect you, everyday.
As you are aware, Governor Hogan announced a State of Emergency in Maryland. With schools and large events cancelled for the coming weeks, we felt it prudent to review our everyday patient and operator protection procedures with you.
There is a term used in the health care industry called “Universal Precautions”. If you have any experience in the medical field you will know these two words VERY well. It is the term used to describe everyday protocol to protect patients and health care professionals from getting each other sick. It has become so ingrained into our psyche that it is second only to breathing for most healthcare providers.
It is important to understand; the most likely cross contamination issue we deal with everyday is viruses. In orthodontics, we do not use needles, draw blood or drill into a tooth. There are many organisms that typically live in the mouth, good and bad. Our concern of course, is the the bad ones. Viruses are transmitted by droplets originating from the mouth, nose and lungs of an infectious person, landing on surfaces or being breathed in close contact.
Here is what our doctor and clinicians do everyday, to protect themselves and you:
Gloves, changed for every patient, of course. We prepare our work area to limit the need to touch anything “extra” while working with patients.
- Plastic covers over attached chair side tools
- Brackets and wires are in factory sealed packages until time of use.
- Invisalign aligners are factory sealed until delivered to patient.
- Elastics are factory sealed
- Auxillaries for treatment are kept in clean, dust free drawers.
- Operators in close contact with patients wear masks and eye protection and either wash or sanitize their hands and lower arm (if not wearing a barrier jacket) between each patient.
- Our clinicians are fully vaccinated against Hepatitis B and receive a Flu shot every year.
CDC approved disinfection wipes are used to clean all hard surfaces that do not come in direct or may be in limited contact with the mouth after each patient.
- Oral mirrors, “colors”, applicator tips, lip retractors for bonding procedures, tray liners, syringe tips and suction tips, iTERO lense covers, are never re-used. Maryland State requires all non sterilizable plastics be disposable. No office is permitted to utilize a “cold sterile” which was common practice until just a few years ago.
Everything that can be heat sterilized, gets placed into our autoclave (steam) sterilizer. (Those crinkly bags we rip everything out of..those came from a sterilizer, and remain stored in their bags until use.) our sterilizer is continually spore tested for efficacy.
At lunch time and at the end of our day, we perform typical housekeeping. Cleaning bathrooms, sinks, etc.
Additionally, while we are dealing with this highly infectious virus we are doubling our efforts to ensure that soft surfaces used in our common areas are “fumigated” with Lysol, removing all toys from our children’s reception room, wiping down public items such as light switches twice a day instead of our usual once a day.
How we all protect each other.
Our list is long, as it should be. There are only a few things we need our patients to consider carefully before electing to come in to our office for your appointments.
- If you or anyone in your household is experiencing symptoms such as, Fever, sore throat or cough please call and reschedule your appointment. Really, this should always be the case. But right now, it is even more vital.
- To minimize close contact, consider protecting yourself and others by limiting how many people accompany the patient to their appointment. If you have all your children with you, maybe camp out in the car instead of coming in to the office. We do not mind calling you directly to discuss the appointment and get your child scheduled for their next appointment.
- New Patient and Recall consultations require that parents accompany their children.
- Wash your hands! We have plenty of hand sanitizer at the front desk, soap in the bathroom and at our brushing stations. I believe the signs at the hospital say something like, gel in, gel out. That simple campaign has had an amazing effect at reducing the spread of germs in the hospital settings, it certainly can’t hurt here either!
- Last but not least, if you do feel the need to cancel your upcoming appointment, please reschedule at the time of cancellation! This will ensure that you have a “seat” in the near future. Orthodontic appointments run on a cycle, if you fall out of that cycle,you may not be able to secure a next appointment in a timely manner.
- Please also note, our schedule has been booked for the past 6 weeks. With the kids now out of school unexpectedly, many of parents will want to see if they can get in to take advantage of this little upside. We are already booked. If you are experiencing an emergency, please call or text and we will make arrangements for you to be seen. If you have not already “liked” our Facebook page, it would be a great time to do so as we will be announcing any last minute openings in our schedule on our page.