More and more medical offices are beginning the process of reopening as restrictions and lockdowns from COVID-19 start to ease. One of the industries that is faced with a rocky path is dentistry. Getting regular dental checkups are essential for oral health, but even the most basic procedures put dentists at an extreme level of contact with patients, which makes viruses from infected patients extremely easy to contract.
The best practices that dentists can use moving forward are fully understanding the potential risks of patient interaction and having the best dental PPE available to try and lower the chances of transmission. Some changes to conventional dental office practices are important as well.
Are You In The Market For Dentist PPE?
The primary concern for dental offices in regards to reopening and preventing infection is that, by nature, they are put at serious risk.
The human mouth is a prime repository for all types of germs, COVID-19 included. This means that taking the time to do even the most basic checkup means that a dentist is likely coming into contact with some type of germs. As a result, the primary concern for dental PPE is making sure that those germs don’t penetrate any protective coverings. In addition, dentists need to regularly sanitize both themselves and their tools to make sure that they don’t unwittingly become a transmission vector for different patients.
While dental work is probably the biggest area of concern, waiting rooms should also be a point of consideration. Normally, you would have several patients waiting their turn to see the dentist, as well as potentially filling out information or making their payments. This causes a problem for two major reasons:
- People sitting next to each other for long periods in close quarters marks a major risk for asymptomatic spread. You don’t need to be symptomatic to spread COVID-19. In addition, the longer and closer people are waiting with each other, the greater the transmission risk, mask or not.
- Office reception environments are rife with shared surfaces. These can range from chairs and tables to magazines to writing utensils/clipboards. In addition, if people are making payments for their dental service, money and credit cards are also a potential disease vector.
Dental practices are already trying to get ahead of this potential issue. Some are staggering their appointments to make sure that only one patient is in the office waiting at a given time. This also gives them more time to disinfect the areas between servicing patients. We’re also seeing an increase in practices taking the temperature of patients coming to their offices before serving them. While COVID-19 can spread from asymptomatic individuals, this at least keeps anyone clearly sick from potentially contaminating the office. Lastly, especially in areas where infection is still prevalent, some practices are temporarily servicing dental emergencies only.
The Best Dental Office PPE Options
All the practices we’ve just covered are going to be key to keep dentists and their patients safe moving forward, but that’s only part of the battle here. No practices can do their job without PPE for dentists. This makes it possible to spot-clean an area after a patient uses it, as well as keeping dentists as protected as possible while doing their work. So, what are some of the options that dentists may need?
As a start, chances are that many dentists already have a ready stock of surgical masks for their regular work. However, they may need to buy more Disposable 3 Ply Medical Face Masks – Non-Sterile to fill out their stock. This is because it’s not just the dentists and hygienists that should be wearing these when working with the patients, but reception staff should have them at all times as well. Stocking up now will ensure you don’t run out when you start servicing more patients.
On the topic of patients and hygienists, the basic surgical and medical masks may no longer be enough. Working in a patient’s mouth for an extended period of time presents an immediate risk, so you want the most protection possible in terms of masks. This means using KN95 Respirator Face Masks. These and their American equivalent, the N95, are notable because they are designed to filter out particles in the environment, as opposed to just keeping people from spreading large particles in a given space. For a while, these were largely reserved for first responders or emergency medical professionals. But as supply is less of a concern, dentists are some of the next tiers of people who should be looking into these.
Some professionals who are having trouble getting respirator masks are considering enhancing their existing masks with other personal protective equipment for dentists. Protective Face Shields – MADE IN USA and Protective Glasses are good examples of the types of things that you should be looking into. While we are well aware that the nose and mouth are major disease vectors, the eyes can be as well. Investing in this type of equipment ensures that professionals are at their safest while they work. If your front desk staff finds it uncomfortable to wear masks for a prolonged length of time, they may be able to make it easier with accessories like the Face Mask Strap & Earsaver.
Hand-in-hand with masks in terms of viral containment are gloves. Most dental offices already have gloves in stock, but you may need to increase what you have in storage because, again, it’s not just your dentists and hygienists who need these now. Consider buying more Protective PVC Gloves – 100 Gloves Per Box, and Nitrile Protective Rubber Gloves – Blue – 100 Gloves Per Box. Ideally, every single person on your staff should have a stash of dental PPE near them so they can restock without running the risk of unnecessary contact with other people.
As a side note, we mentioned before how eye protection matters a lot when it comes to safety. Something else that doesn’t get discussed nearly enough is protecting your footwear. The floor can be a major host for germs that are transmitted via our footwear as we walk from room to room. For example, if a customer sneezes or coughs and gets turned away at the door, the professional can still transmit their germs if they get on their shoes. This is why every dental practice should consider investing in Disposable Medical Shoe Covers. These can be easily swapped out or disposed to minimize every possible vector of risk.
We mentioned before that taking the temperature of patients prior to entering your practice is a way to make sure that you aren’t letting sick people inside. However, taking temperatures isn’t part of the typical product suite for a dentist. However, we have you covered. Use our basic Digital Thermometer to quickly take temperatures for patients while they are in your parking lot or your waiting room. If you are concerned about the proximity of taking a temperature, we also have a Non-Contact Infrared Digital Thermometer available. Get an accurate reading in a matter of seconds.
One of the most important points of consideration is making sure your practices have all the PPE necessary to properly spot clean. When someone enters the practice, leaves, and when you shut down for the day, there should be a constant cycle of cleaning for all shared surfaces. This means you want to make sure your practice has plenty of 16 oz Hand Sanitizer – Made In USA. Whether we’re talking about doorknobs, pens, desks, or other tools, hand sanitizer should constantly be applied in order to avoid lingering germs.
Another tool that has a similar benefit is Antibacterial Moist Wipes – 10 Wipes Per Packet. These are great portable options for your staff to quickly spot clean a given surface after someone uses it. They can also bring them in their pockets for their own personal use. The more time you spend spot cleaning, the less you need to worry about every single person that enters the practice.
While dentists have a unique risk level compared to businesses like salons or spas that are on a similar reopening timeline, one benefit they have is already being in the medical world. Best practices to minimize any viral transmission were already part and parcel for dental practices worldwide before the COVID-19 pandemic. However, you just need to adjust those practices for this new threat, particularly asymptomatic spread.
However, best practices are only going to go as far as the tools you have to power them. At iPromo, we understand how important PPE for dentists is to allow these professionals to go back to their jobs with confidence. This is why we have all the tools and equipment needed to keep these important professionals protected as they go back to work.