Donaldson, Guenther and Yilmaz DDS

The Importance of a Clean Dental Office for Patients

Dental work creates aerosols and bloodborne pathogens that can put patients and dental staff at risk, so cleanliness and safety are top priorities in dental offices.

Fortunately, best practices for dental office cleaning can mitigate the risk of infection significantly.

Here are some of the common procedures used to keep dental clinics clean, and how our Ann Arbor dental office keeps patients safe:

Surface disinfecting

It is recommended that dentists clean and disinfect environmental surfaces to destroy microorganisms. These surfaces include housekeeping surfaces (floors, walls, and sinks) as well as clinical surfaces that come into contact with spray, spatter, or the dentist’s gloved hands.

In addition to cleaning and disinfecting surfaces, the CDC recommends using surface barriers that can be changed between patients on hard-to-clean surfaces, like radiology equipment.

At DGY Dentistry, we use disinfectant wipes followed by a spray with a final wipe down. We saturate the surface to rid it of any germs and bacteria. We then use a fogging device as a final step to disinfecting.

Tool and equipment sanitizing

All patient-care items, such as dental instruments and devices, should be sterilized, according to the CDC. Items that “penetrate bone or tissue” are considered “critical” items and should always be heat sterilized. Any items that touch mucous membranes (“semi-critical”) should also be heat sterilized if possible, or processed with a high level disinfectant.

Additionally, “Handpieces and other intraoral devices that can be removed from the air and waterlines of dental units should be cleaned and heat-sterilized between patients.” (source)

As new recommendations come in we are at the forefront of implementing the safest protocols.

Training of staff

These procedures only work if staff are properly trained to carry out proper disinfection and sterilization protocols. Dental staff should understand the risk created by bloodborne pathogens and aerosols and act accordingly. This includes following best practices when disinfecting operatories, switching out sterilized tools between patients, and wearing appropriate PPE.

At DGY Dentistry, training is ongoing. At our staff meetings we discuss recommendations and how to implement them, and make sure everyone understands the methods. We are always tweaking what to do as we learn more about the best disinfection methods.