With cold and flu season here and your patient flow increasing, I encourage doctors and all team members to review their personal protection and disinfection procedures to reduce cross contamination in the orthodontic office. Many clinical team members and treatment coordinators are not aware of the disinfection procedures that must happen in between patients and the proper way to accomplish this. Disinfection procedures are not limited to the clinical areas.
COMMON AREAS FOR REDUCTION OF CROSS CONTAMINATION
Gloves must be worn when touching any patient care items, handling instruments, or working with patients.
Gloves must NOT be worn when handling patient charts or documenting patient information on the keyboard or using a mouse.
Gloves must be removed and left chairside prior to leaving the chairside area.
Cotton pliers should be used to retrieve all patient care items from drawers (cotton rolls, adhesives, etc.).
Clinical assistants should wear protective eyewear and masks when performing patient procedures. A new mask should be worn for each patient.
Patients should wear protective eyewear during patient procedures that could involve splattering, splashing, or cutting wires.
Masks and protective eyewear should be removed prior to speaking with patient/parent in the reception room or other rooms in the office.
Patient chair and unit must be cleaned and disinfected after completing all patient procedures and after patient dismissal. Gloves must be worn.
- Remove headrest/chair cover and all barrier protections.
- Remove used suction tips, air/water syringe tip, and handpieces.
- Pick up tray/cassette, all trash and take into sterilization area.
- Don utility gloves.
- Place disposable items (suction tips, cotton, gauze, etc.) in the trash.
- Place wires, etc into the sharps container.
- Place instruments or cassettes into the ultrasonic cleaning unit.
- Clean and disinfect chairside unit items such as adhesives, etc. and replace in the unit drawers. Items must remain wet for the recommended surface contact time per manufacturers’ directions.
- Clean and disinfect chair and unit with surface disinfectant. Surface must remain wet for the recommended surface contact time per manufacturers’ directions.
- Replace headrest/chair cover, all barrier protections, suction tip, and air/water syringe.
If you need more information on suggested PPE for tasks within the dental setting please contact me for an easy to follow chart.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Andrea Cook’s in-office, hands-on training is based on knowledge gained through 20 years of chair side experience. She is a clinical consultant and trainer for premier orthodontic offices across the country. Contact Andrea at Andrea Cook Consulting.