Dentistry on Sherbrooke has always maintained the highest order of cleanliness and sterility to protect our patients and staff from the transmission of illness through cross contamination. With the dental profession’s intense focus on IPAC (Infection Control and Prevention), it is difficult to imagine a cleaner and safer place than a dental office. So, whether it’s coronavirus or the regular seasonal flu, we’ve always been prepared.
- All of our staff have always followed PPE (personal protective equipment) guidelines, which include gloves, masks, eye protection, footwear and scrubs/gowning.
- Treatment staff don new gloves every time they enter or re-enter an operatory, washing their hands thoroughly prior to donning new gloves.
- Each treatment room has always had every surface disinfected after every patient.
- The dental chairs, counters, and all surfaces are wiped down with hospital grade disinfectants after each and every procedure.
- Wherever possible we use disposable, single use items.
- Instruments are washed, disinfected, bagged and then sterilized. Each instrument pack has a date stamped on it and inside the pack is an indicator strip that ensures the deepest portion of the instrument kit achieved the required temperature to be sterile. Every day the sterilizer has a live culture test to ensure it is working properly. Every surgical instrument kit is quarantined after sterilization while we run a live culture test to ensure that no microbes have grown.
- Instrument packs are opened only when the patient is seated in the dental chair, and in full view of the patient.
- We treat the water in our dental chairs to ensure sterility. We purge and clean our waterlines daily, and test them routinely with live culture tests to ensure they remain clean.
- We recently invested over a $100,000 to further improve our hospital grade reprocessing system.
- We employ a full time sterilization technician, whose sole responsibility is the cleaning and sterilization of all of our instruments.
In response to the rapidly evolving COVID-19 crisis, on 15 march 2020 our provincial licensing body, the RCDSO, ordered all dental offices in Ontario to close until further notice. On 31 May 2020, dentists in Ontario received word from the RCDSO that the Chief Medical Officer of Health for Ontario allowed dental offices to re-open for elective and non-emergency services, subject to compliance with 65 extra COVID-related precautions detailed in the government’s amended Directive #2.
Dentistry on Sherbrooke affirms that we will always be fully compliant with these, and any future amendments to IPAC practices.
Some of these extra post-COVID precautions include:
- Sourcing and utilizing extra PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) and other recommended items in short supply such as masks, face shields, disinfectant sprays and wipes, disposable gowns, hydrogen peroxide rinse, antibacterial soap, hand sanitizers, etc.
- Installing plexi-glass barriers at the reception desk, to reduce inter-personal contact and uphold physical distancing principles.
- All staff, not just our treatment providers, will now be wearing appropriate PPE all day to ensure their protection and yours.
- Modifying our scheduling practices to allow for extra time to comply with additional infection control requirements. Staggering appointment times, to minimize patient-to-patient interactions.
- Screening protocols for staff. As always, unwell staff will be required to stay home. Twice daily infrared thermometer temperature checks for all staff.
- Screening protocols to see only healthy patients. When you schedule an appointment, we will screen you for COVID symptoms, using the COVID Screening Questionnaire developed by the Ontario Ministry of Health. When you come for your appointment we will ask you these questions again. A positive response to any of these questions will result in the deferral of your appointment, and a referral to the Peterborough Health Unit for immediate COVID testing.
- Infrared thermometer temperature check for all patients before they enter our office.
- Every patient that enters will now be required to sanitize their hands immediately and wear a mask at all times when they are not in treatment.
- We ask that only the patient (one parent with a child) with an appointment enter our office to minimize contact with other people and to observe physical distancing guidelines.
- Reduced, and appropriately spaced seating in our reception area. No accompanying guests will be allowed into the treatment operatories.
- Analysis of AGP (Aerosol Generating Procedures) and ways to reduce them. Some of the changes we have been considering include elimination vs selective use of ultrasonic scalers, use of auxiliary high volume suction devices, use of rubber dam isolation for fillings, and cleanings with no polish to reduce splatter.
- Increasing the time intervals between patients for the treatment room after an AGP.
- Elimination of toys, gaming and magazines in the waiting room.
- Disinfection of the reception chairs, door handles, pens, debit machines and washrooms between patients.
In closing I want everyone to know that the safety of my staff and patients is paramount. Dentistry on Sherbrooke will always observe meticulous compliance with all current IPAC standards, protocols and regulations.
Yours in dental health,
Dr. Jurgen Vander Velden