While dentistry is all about keeping your mouth clean and healthy, there is a lot of leg work that goes in to ensuring that the dental office and instruments are as clean and sterilized as possible. Because dentistry is a health service that can be fairly invasive and involves a lot of work in the mouth, where bacteria is very common, the amount of effort that goes into maintaining a safe and sanitary environment is staggering. If not properly addressed, things like dirty instruments can lead to infections in the teeth and gums, something an intra oral dental assistant wants to avoid at any cost.
Dental assistant training covers a vast majority of the techniques and practices for keeping instruments and office spaces sanitary and hygienic, but in our changing world, we not only have to worry about bacterial infection but even the potential for infection with diseases like Hepatitis B, Hepatitis C, and Influenza, and even in rare cases, HIV. Ensuring a safe and sterilized environment should be the first priority in the dental office, and no expense or effort should be spared a�� this is among the first things to be taught to you in a dental assistant program.
The Absolute Essentials
Ita��s no secret that disinfecting all surfaces is absolutely necessary when it comes to cleaning the dental office a�� everything from countertops to the dental chair should be scrubbed down and disinfected a�� but even if there doesna��t appear to be anything present on surfaces doesna��t mean there arena��t germs lurking. Always use hospital-grade antibacterial or bactericidal products to sanitize work spaces, and be as thorough as possible because non-visible blood and saliva could be present on surfaces a�� just because you cana��t see it doesna��t mean it isna��t there.
The Not So Obvious
Always using gloves and protective eyewear is of course standard practice in dental offices, but you should be using gloves, masks and eyewear that are specific to the task and the patient to avoid any cross contaminating and ensure the cleanest possible procedures. If youa��re performing several separate dental procedures on a patient, be sure to use different gloves and protective gear for each procedure to limit the chance of infection.
Limiting eating and drinking to only specific areas in the dental practice is very standard, but banning them outright a�� aside from a staff lunch room a�� is the best way to avoid any contamination. Everyday things like doorknobs and light switches can also be havens for bacteria, so they should also be sterilized and disinfected just as frequently as dental instruments, or even more frequently, as they are some of the most touched surfaces in the dental offices.
Devices that use air suction or water should have special attention paid to them, as bacteria can collect in them. Always be sure to properly sterilize and clean the equipment, and to let them run for 20-30 seconds before each use to ensure that all of the bacteria and disinfectant is gone.
Above all else, vigilance and an extremely methodical inspection and disinfection of surfaces and instruments are the keys to a safe and clean dental office.