As some states have decided to reopen their economy, dental practices are considering reopening their office to non-emergency care. However, even if your practice is not located in one of those states, preparing for reopening should be done sooner rather than later since supplies are limited.
In this article, we have created a checklist of 12 essential items that practices will need when they reopen. These items allow practices to follow strict and effective infection control protocols and reduce the risk of cross-contamination in the waiting room and operatories.
For future reference, save the list on your computers or phones. You can also view our checklist for all dental practice reopening strategies.
Practice Reopening Shopping List
All team members and patients must use hand sanitizer when they first enter the dental office. Alternatively, practices could use alcohol-based hand rub.
Tissues should be provided in the waiting rooms, bathrooms, and patient consultation rooms.
Offices should look for wastebaskets with an open-top to discard the waste without touching the lid.
Soap should be put at sinks in all bathrooms.
Buy disinfectant wipes to clean pens, clipboard, counter, phone, keyboards, light switches, tables, chair arms, doorknobs, hangers, sneeze guards, and all other touchable items. Such items and surfaces should be cleaned on a regular basis. All unnecessary touchable items, including brochures, magazines, toys, and samples, should be removed.
Disinfectant cleaners can be used as an alternative to wipes for cleaning surfaces throughout the dental offices.
Always use a thermometer to check the patient’s temperature when they first enter the office. Remember to clean the thermometer sufficiently between uses.
We highly recommend practices to order disposable pens in bulk and give one to each patient after use rather than reusing. Alternatively, you can ask your patients to bring their own pens during the phone screening process. If pens are reused, remember to clean them between uses.
Front desk sneeze guard
Sneeze guards can protect your receptionists from infection during the patient screening process. The guards also need to be cleaned and disinfected frequently.
At the minimum, dental professionals need to be equipped with masks, gloves, eyewear, and gowns. It will be even better if they have face shields. For more guidelines regarding PPE types, please visit here.
Dental suction system
During the dental procedures, a high-speed suction device could be used to remove droplets and aerosols particles generated from the patient’s mouth, significantly reducing the risk of cross-contamination among dental professionals and patients. Look for systems that use strong disinfection and sterilization layer filters to prevent viruses and germs.
1.5% hydrogen peroxide mouth rinse
Let patients use pre-procedural mouth rinse of 1.5% hydrogen peroxide to reduce the salivary load of oral microbes and destroy viruses. Some dental products, such as Colgate Peroxyl and Listerine Whitening Mouthrinse could be used for this effect. Dentists should let patients rinse at the beginning of the appointment for 60 seconds and again after the appointment.
Lastly, you need to drive awareness and traffic to your office when you reopen. A big part of doing this lies in communicating with your patients. Let them know about your preparation in preventing the risk of infection.
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