Now more than ever, it is important to practice excellent hygiene to avoid both COVID-19 and other bugs. As you practice social distancing, frequent hand washing, and other precautions, we are ensuring that our tools, equipment, and office stay in excellent shape for our patients.
The Stiles Dental Care team is proud to follow strict sterilization and cross contamination processes aimed at keeping you safe and well. We adhere to the standards recommended by the American Dental Association, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, and the Centers for Disease Control.
How is Stiles Dental Care responding to COVID-19?
The stringent standards we practice in our office have prepared us for what may lie ahead when it comes to health and sterilization efforts during the COVID-19 pandemic. We stay committed to protecting our patients when they are in our office. We never cut corners when it comes to the procedures we have in place to stop cross-contamination in its tracks and limit the spread of germs. When you come to visit us, you can rest assured that you are in excellent hands.
When we receive definitive answers on any new sterilization procedures in our office as recommended by the experts, our patients can rest assured that we will implement them, ensuring the Stiles Dental Care team complies with all guidelines and mandates.
What types of sterilization are there?
There are several different types of sterilization available. These methods are applied in different situations depending on what is being sterilized. They include:
- Heat-based sterilization. This type of sterilization includes team under pressure — also called autoclaving — in the form of gravity displacement and pre-vacuum. It can also include dry heat or dry chemical vapor.
- Liquid chemical sterilization. This type of sterilization is used on dental instruments that cannot be exposed to extreme heat.
Sometimes, dentists may use sterile, single-use instruments that are disposed of after use. Since these items are used only once, there is no need to sterilize them — they have already served their purpose.
Why is sterilization important?
Sterilizing surfaces, tools, and instruments is important to halt contamination in its tracks. Proper sterilization on the essential tools in our dental office is key in preventing the spread of germs, bacteria, viruses, and other concerns. When all steps are carefully followed, as we are committed to doing at Stiles Dental Care, that means our instruments are clean and sterile for each use, keeping patients safe and well. It is important that the dental office you visit practices the strictest sterilization procedures recommended. When trying out a new dentist for the first time, don’t be afraid to ask about what practices they have in place to protect their patients.
How does sterilization work?
Sterilization works by using various processes to eliminate germs, bacteria, viruses, and other concerns from surfaces and instruments. This can include disinfecting blood pressure cuffs and dental chairs after each patient, to sterilizing tools like root planers and hand mirrors. Each of our patients can rest easy knowing that our standards are stringent — we take our commitment to keeping you safe and well very seriously. Our sterilization methods are top of the line. When there are updates or new methods available to help make our practices — and, as a result, our patients — even safer, we take them.
What does sterilization entail?
The complete steps of sterilization depend on the method used to sterilize the tools — as well as the items being sterilized. We have a special organizational system in place to avoid cross-contamination and keep everything in its place when it comes to sterilization. In general, you can expect the following during the sterilization process:
- Instruments are cleaned. Whether in an automated cleaner or by hand, we will first remove any possible debris on the instruments that need to be sterilized.
- Instruments are packaged. Depending on whether the sterilization will be heat or liquid, there are carefully considered steps to safely package and label the tools that will be sterilized.
- Indicators are included. Indicators in both heat- and liquid-based sterilization will let our team know that the sterilization has been completed as planned.
- Heat-based sterilization occurs in some cases.
- Liquid disinfectants applied in other cases.
- Biological monitoring occurs. We check our office space, surfaces, and tools with specially designed tests on a regular schedule based on recommended guidelines to ensure that the presence of bacteria has been eliminated.
The health and safety of our patients are our priority at Stiles Dental Care. We are carefully following guidelines and regulations as they are recommended. Learn more about how the team is protecting the community during the COVID-19 crisis here.