Dentists around the globe are a worried lot because of their place of work literally speaking-the mouth. Even with the COVID-19 pandemic spreading around the globe like bush fires, parents are still turning up their children’s braces appointments and other walk in appointments.
COVID-19 is a new infectious disease that is affecting the respiratory system. It is primarily spread through droplets of saliva or any discharge from the nose.If a patient coughs or sneezes the respiratory droplets lands on the dentist and is likely to contain the virus. This is a great concern since any patient who walks through the dentist’s door will obviously open their mouth, cough or even spit.
As such, dentist worldwide have enacted new hygiene protocols to keep this life threatening disease at bay. Let’s take a look at these measures.
- Frequently Wash Hands.
This may sound too obvious but is a life-saving routine. Here is how to do it.
- Wet hands with clean running water and then apply soap.
- Rub hands together to lather the soap. Lather the back of the hands, between the fingers and under the nails.
- Scrub hands for at least 20 seconds.
- Rinse hands under clean running water
- Dry hands using a clean dry towel or air dry them.
When you can’t wash hands with soap and water, use an alcohol based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol. Here is how to use the sanitizer.
- Apply the sanitizer on the hand
- Rub hands together.
- Rub the sanitizer all over the surface of the hands, in between fingers until dry. This rubbing should last at least 20seconds.
- Maintain Social Distancing
Dentists are advised to maintain a distance of 1metre between themselves and anyone who is sneezing or coughing. This is because when an infected person coughs or sneezes, they release saliva droplets which may contain the virus.
To encourage social distancing:
Dentists should postpone all elective and nonemergency procedures.
Have patients wait in their cars as opposed to the waiting room.
- Practice Respiratory Hygiene
When sneezing or coughing it is recommended that you cover your mouth with a bent elbow or on a tissue that should be disposed immediately and appropriately.
Oral health providers should join in making public awareness on corona virus and continuing their Facebook advertising management campaigns to encourage interaction long afterwards.
ADDITIONAL PRECAUTIONARY MEASURES FOR DENTISTS
Dentists must take further precautionary measure to protect themselves and others. Below are the routine measures to follow.
- Before performing any procedure, take temperature readings.
- Wear appropriate personal protective equipment such as eye wear, gloves, gowns and masks.
- Clean and sterilize all non-disposable dental tools.
- Clean and regularly disinfect dental chairs, drawer handles, counter tops and replace protective covers after treating each patient.
- All dental staff attending to patients should throw away disposable gloves and face masks.
- Wash hands and put on a new set of gloves before attending the next patient.
- Disinfect public utilities frequently including door handles, toilets and bathrooms.