2036 W. 95th St. Chicago, IL 60643 773-366-8718 www.comfort-familydental.com
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INSIDE THIS ISSUE
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Dr. Corie on the Power of Determined Mothers
Technology Saves the Day
How Brushing Your Teeth Can Save Your Life
What Is Sleep Apnea?
Is It Safe to Go to the Dentist?
DENTAL SANITATION AND COVID-19 HOW DENTISTS KEEP PATIENTS SAFE
E ven before the outbreak of COVID-19, infection control was a huge priority for dental offices. Every piece of equipment you see at the office, from the chair you sit in to the sickle probe used to remove plaque from your teeth, is thoroughly sanitized after every use. However, this wasn’t always the case. Archaeological evidence shows that humans have been operating on each other’s teeth since 7000 B.C. However, dentistry didn’t become its own profession until the 18th century. It would take another 200 years before dentists recognized the possibility of cross-infection between patients and dental practitioners. The first dental cabinets equipped with “sterilizers” weren’t available until the early 1900s. These early attempts at sanitization were far below today’s standards. The process of sterilizing equipment was slightly more
rigorous in the 1970s, but regulation was still lacking. By the 1980s, only 30% of dentists wore gloves, masks, or gowns. It wasn’t until the AIDS epidemic that infection control in dentistry was reformed. Panic over infectious diseases in general prompted the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to publish their first set of comprehensive dental infection control guidelines. This included adopting “universal precautions” based on the idea that blood and all bodily fluids that could contain blood might be contaminated and must be treated as infectious. New regulatory guidelines emphasized infection control protocols, which have been updated over the years as both our technology and medical understanding improved. The most recent
guidelines from 2016 are the gold standard for infection control. These guidelines include the use of personal protective equipment for dental personnel, the requirement that practices must have an individual trained in infection prevention on staff, and the mandate that all equipment must be approved by the Food and Drug Administration and cleaned with chemical germicides registered with the Environmental Protection Agency as “hospital disinfectant.” You may be concerned right now, but rest assured that when you come in for your appointment, our team has taken every measure to protect your health. This includes taking extra time to thoroughly sanitize all the equipment in the office. It may also include closing the office and rescheduling appointments, if such a thing is deemed necessary.
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