March 17, 2020

Covid-19 Newsletter

Filed under: Uncategorized — tntadmin @ 12:21 am

Infection control procedures are actions taken in health care settings to prevent the spread of disease. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has recommendations for dental office infection control. Your dentist cares about your safety and works hard to prevent the spread of infection. Before you enter the examining room, all surfaces, such as the dental chair, dental light, drawer handles, and countertops, have been cleaned and disinfected. Offices may cover some equipment with protective covers, which are replaced after each patient.

Non-disposable items like the dental tools are cleaned and sterilized between patients. Disposable dental tools and needles are never reused. Infection control precautions also require all dental staff involved in patient care to use appropriate protective equipment such as gloves, masks, gowns, and eyewear when needed. After each patient, disposable gloves and masks are thrown away. Before seeing the next patient, everyone on the treatment team washes their hands and put on a new pair of gloves.

Your well-being is important to your dentist and dental staff. That’s why infection control procedures are in place at your dental office.

What about the new coronavirus?

With so many news stories, it’s understandable to be concerned about the new coronavirus that causes COVID-19. Please know that the precautions your dentist already takes every day to prevent the spread of infection in his or her practice also helps prevent the spread of COVID-19.

If you are ill with flu-like symptoms, you should reschedule your appointment. If you or someone you are in close contact with have recently traveled to one of the countries with large outbreaks of COVID-19 (China, Italy, Iran, South Korea) or if you have been exposed to someone else who was diagnosed with COVID-19 or who was quarantined as a precaution, wait 14 days until you see your dentist to make sure you have not caught the coronavirus.

If you are healthy, there’s no need to cancel your regularly scheduled dental appointment.

It’s important to know that the majority of people infected with the coronavirus experience flu-like symptoms and then recover. Most people do not develop serious respiratory complications. Those most at risk of becoming seriously ill are elderly people and those with underlying medical conditions such as diabetes and kidney disease, among others. Children, thus far, have been largely unaffected.

Here are a few things you can do on your own to help keep yourself and those around you healthy:

  • Wash your hands frequently or use a hand sanitizer with at least 60 percent ethyl alcohol.
  • Avoid touching your face, eyes or nose to reduce the spread of germs.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with your elbow. Infections like the coronavirus spread through the tiny droplets in coughs and sneezes.
  • Stay home if you feel sick. If you have flu-like symptoms or otherwise feel unwell, stay home and rest. Call your dentist to reschedule your appointment for a later date. This will reduce the risk of spreading your illness.

Frequently Asked Questions

1) What are the signs/symptoms and risk factors for COVID-19?
Similar to patients with other flu-like diseases, patients with known COVID-19 have reported mild to severe symptoms which can include fever, cough and shortness of breath. Patients may also report a recent trip to China, or a close contact with someone who traveled to China within the past 14 days.

2) Where can I find current, credible information about COVID-19?
CDC’s website includes numerous resources for healthcare workers including:

3) I know it is much more likely that a patient with the flu may come to the office for dental treatment. What are the CDC recommendations for dental staff to receive the flu vaccine?
CDC recommends that all health care workers, including dentists and staff, receive the flu vaccine. Information on CDC’s recommendations for immunization can be found at https://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/adults/rec-vac/hcw.html.

4) Should staff report to work with acute respiratory symptoms?

  • Staff experiencing influenza‐like‐illness (ILI) (fever with either cough or sore throat,  muscle aches) should not report to work.
  • Staff who experience ILI and wish to seek medical care should contact their health care providers to report illness (by telephone or other remote means) before seeking care at a  clinic, physician’s office, or hospital.
  • Staff who have difficulty breathing or shortness of breath, or are believed to be severely ill,  should seek immediate medical attention.

Summary

Respiratory hygiene/cough etiquette infection control measures along with contact precautions are currently recommended for preventing transmission of COVID-19 and all flu-like illnesses in a dental healthcare setting. CDC continues to monitor activity relating to COVID-19 and is coordinating efforts with health departments in Arizona, California, Illinois, Massachusetts, Washington, and Wisconsin and communicating with the World Health Organization. This is an evolving situation and CDC is updating its guidance and information as it becomes available.

Brought to you by the ADA Practice Institute. For more information, please contact the Center for Dental Practice at dentalpractice@ada.org or 312-440-2895

No Comments

No comments yet.

RSS feed for comments on this post.

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.

Like Us On Facebook Read Our Reviews Read Our Blog