Infection Control: How We Protect our Patients from COVID-19

Blog
  • Why is infection control important in dentistry?
  • What is infection control in a dental clinic?
  • Is it safe to go back to the dentist despite surging cases of COVID?
  • How can I help stop the spread of COVID-19?

The COVID-19 pandemic that continues to sweep across the world this year demonstrated how important infection control is to preserve public health. Special measures had to be taken wherever people gather, especially in a healthcare facility.

Here at Yonge Eglinton Dental, we take infection prevention and control very seriously to protect the well-being of our dentists, patients, and staff. That’s why we added strict infection control measures to our already thorough sterilization procedures back in the spring during the lockdown, so we could welcome our patients back safely and provide an added peace of mind.

Why is infection control important in dentistry?

Infection control has always been a staple in the health care industry, and is especially important in dentistry considering the risks involved in treating diseases in the mouth.

This makes preventing the transmission of disease in dental offices critical to patient safety. The good news is that there’s evidence that, even during a pandemic, our virus control procedures are working.

As concern over COVID-19 began to heighten in March 2020, The New York Times published an article that listed dentistry among the professions at the highest risk of contracting COVID-19. The information was based on data from O*NET, a database maintained by the U.S. Department of Labour, which suggested that the close proximity between dentists and their patients made virus transmission a concern.

However, a recent report published by the American Dental Association based on survey data shows that the actual infection rate among dentist offices is less than 1 percent.

In other words, your dentist’s office is one of the safest places with respect to preventing airborne transmission of coronavirus, as well as other respiratory viruses and infectious diseases.

What is infection control in a dental clinic?

To help ensure infection prevention during the pandemic, Yonge Eglinton Dental met and exceeded the Royal College of Dental Surgeons of Ontario’s  COVID-19 guidelines with respect to Managing Infection Risks During In-Person Dental Care and their  Infection Protection and Control (IPAC) Guidelines.

Our patient safety procedures include:

  • Complete disinfection of treatment rooms: We rigorously disinfect all surfaces of the treatment room, including the dental chair, countertops, and drawer handles before any patient is accompanied into the room.
  • Frequent handwashing: All our dentists and dental hygienists regularly practice hand hygiene before and after each patient interaction, and after touching a potentially contaminated surface.
  • Utilizing single-use equipment: Items such as latex-free gloves, masks, cups, suction tips, and syringes are only used once and then disposed of safely.
  • Safe handling of contaminated items: Any single-use tool or other item used in dental treatment is immediately disposed of in special containers with safety lids.
  • Decontamination of dental instruments: Every dental instrument is completely sterilized between each patient to destroy all forms of microbial life and prevent virus transmission.
  • Monitoring the health of our team: We perform temperature checks and screenings on all members of the dental team multiple times per day. Any member that fails their screening is referred to their doctor and cannot return to the office until they have successfully passed the screening process.

There will always be a dental professional to step in and look after you in the event your usual dentist or dental hygienist is out of the office. This way, your dental needs will still be met while we ensure your safety.

You can read more details about infection control procedures to promote safe patient care in dental offices on the Ontario Public Health website.

Is it safe to go back to the dentist despite surging cases of COVID?

Watching media reports and social media updates can be stressful, especially when there is a spike in cases on any given day. For many people, this makes them wary of leaving the house, much less visiting their dentist’s office.

Although the number of cases might fluctuate, you can rest assured that returning to the dentist is safer than ever.

On top of the added infection control measures in response to COVID-19, we’ve also taken addition steps to protect you, including:

  • Installing medical-grade HEPA air purifiers in all treatment rooms to help eliminate airborne contaminants
  • Wearing personal protective equipment such as facemasks, visors, gloves, and more as recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
  • Providing alcohol-based hand rub for you to use as you enter and exit our offices
  • Adding plexiglass barriers in the reception area
  • Requiring patients to wear a facemask except when receiving treatment
  • Patient flow control in our offices to promote physical distancing
  • No longer accepting cash payments

These measures also include screening patients for COVID-19 both before their appointments and upon arrival at Yonge Eglinton Dental. If anyone screens positive, they are encouraged to return to our offices after consulting with a physician and/or are symptom-free after a 14-day self-isolation period. They will always be welcomed back once they’re clear of any COVID-like symptoms.

How can I help stop the spread of COVID-19?

There are several ways we can all do our part to help minimize the pandemic and reduce the risk of transmission, such as:

  • Seek professional medical assessment, advice, and treatment from your primary healthcare provider or local public health office if you are feeling unwell
  • Wear a facemask in public places
  • Avoid large crowds whenever possible
  • Refrain from close-contact greetings
  • Download the COVID Alert mobile app

Remember, our dental team is here to answer all of your questions. Although our primary practice is dental care, we’re also committed to helping you achieve good overall health – and doing what we can to protect it.

Infection Control: Protecting our Patients at Yonge Eglinton Dental in Toronto

If you’re concerned about visiting the dentist due to concerns over COVID-19, talk to us about our infection control procedures that ensure patient safety. Give Yonge Eglinton Dental a call today at 416-932-2222 or book an appointment online. We’ll be happy to see you!

Concerned about visiting the dentist? Read about how we protect the health and safety of our patients and staff so your family can seek proper dental care with peace of mind.