PPE is the Personal Potective Equipment we wear to keep you and ourselves safe. We have always used masks, gloves, safety glasses, but now we are adding some additional equipment and changing them more frequently.
N98 respirators. (better than N95)
The CDC is now recommending clinical team members use N95 respirators during all aerosol producing procedures. An N95 respirator filters contaminants at 95% efficiency down to .3 microns. Our N98 respirators are American made in Utah and have been tested to filter contaminants at 98% efficiency down to .1 micron.
What are aerosols? An aerosol is the fine mist that is created when certain dental procedures are performed.
Standard PPE now consists of Gloves, Gowns, Masks and Hair nets that are changed after every patient and we now wear face shields over our standard safety glasses.
All patients are sent a COVID19 screening questionnaire prior to their appointment and touchless temperature checks are performed prior to patients entering the office.
Team members are also screened and have their temperature checked before every shift.
Air and water quality
Because COVID19 spreads through the air we wanted to take steps to have the cleanest air possible and to do everything we can to mitigate any risk from dental aerosols.
To achieve this we have taken a multi pronged approach that consists of Air purification systems, specialty HVAC filters and high velocity extraction units. Water quality is also important, because bacteria can grow in dental water lines if high quality purified water isn’t used.
What are aerosols? An aerosol is the fine mist that is created when certain dental procedures are performed. This mist is of concern because because it can contain germs and contaminants from a patients mouth.
Air Purification System
We have installed several Air purifcation units throughout the office. Using a combination of HEPA filters and UV-C light, this system filters all the air in our office four times every hour and catches contaminants down to .3 microns as well as kill viruses using UV light.
The dryshield is a suction device that is placed inside your mouth as dental work is being performed and accomplishes two things. First, it helps to mitigate the risk from aerosols by capturing most of the mist that is created before it ever leaves your mouth. The other benefit of the dryshield is that you’ll never have to worry about water collecting in your mouth as work is being performed.
High Velocity Extraction
Our High Velocity Extraction (HVE) units are made right here in the USA and are used to capture any aerosols that were not captured by the Dryshield. The is a tube that is placed just below your chin and the suction captures nearly everything that leaves your mouth and filters any contaminants down to .12 microns.
Purifiying all the air in our office 4 times every hour wasn’t enough, so we have also installed MERV13 filters in our HVAC system. These filters are capable of not only filtering dust and allergens like a traditional air conditioning filter, but they can also capture germs and viruses.
Water is water right? WRONG, using unfiltered water can lead to bacteria in dental water lines. To keep you safe, all our water is ultra purified on-site using a system of reverse osmosis, UV light filtration and ozone infusion. Our water lines are also disinfected regularly and samples are lab tested to confirm cleanliness. This guarantees water purity and water line cleanliness.
Why do we use ozone infused water?
Ozone is a natural oxidizer that has been used in dentistry since the 1930’s and a paper from the Kentucky Dental Association states that using ozonated water can protect you “from aerosol contaminants produced by high-speed instruments and water spray… and leaves only oxygen and water as byproducts.” In a nutshell, ozone literally cleans the aerosol or mist that is created during procedures so that it doesn’t pose a risk and on top of that nearly everything that escapes your mouth will be captured by the Dryshield and high velocity extraction units we use during all aerosol producing procedures.
Surface Decontamination and Sterilization
Our team cleans all contact surfaces every hour. We also clean and disinfect each room before every appointment. This includes wiping down all surfaces, replacing any plastic barriers and applying an ultra fine non-toxic disinfecting mist.
Our office follows strict sterilization procedures. All instruments are cleaned in an ultrasonic cleaner to remove gross contamination, than placed in a special stainless sterilization box and wrapped to prevent contamination after sterilization. Once this is done, the wrapped instruments are placed in one of our Tuttnaure autoclaves where the instruments are sterilized under tremendous heat and pressure. Lastly, sterilization test samples are sent monthly to be lab tested and ensure that our autoclaves are germ free and functioning properly.