At Markiewicz Dental, your safety is our primary concern. Yes, we focus on the latest dental procedures and technology, but behind the scenes, we also focus on the less glamorous protocols and technology to keep our patients and our team safe. This includes regular training on emergency medical drills and yes, regular review of our Infection Control Practices. Dentistry has come a long way since I began Dental School in 1981. Infection control practices were non-existent. Use of gloves, masks, and heat sterilization was very rare. The AIDS crisis forced a change for the better. Dentistry had to take a serious look at infection control and patient safety. When I began practicing Dentistry in the US Navy in 1985, I witnessed a painful transition, those who had been practicing for a while had difficulty, but for me, it was an invaluable experience to watch and participate in the trial and error that resulted in solid infection control protocols to protect our patients. Out of that struggle came a profession focused on patient and team safety. So much so, that The Center for Disease Control states that the dental community has been doing a very good job of protecting our patients via state-of-the-art infection control practices.
We all can play a role in helping prevent the spread of this virus and contribute to overall public health. Please read our Coronavirus: How we all can make a difference to better understand the reasons for the protocol changes we are implementing.
Due to recent public health concerns involving the CoronaVirus, we at Markiewicz Dental are monitoring information from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and local officials regarding the spread of COVID-19 (Novel Coronavirus disease). The safety of our patients and staff is our top priority. As such, we have Instituted:
- Screening measures for patients
- A review of our stringent infection prevention protocols and implemented some minor changes
- Increased the frequency with which they sanitize and clean public spaces
- We ask all patient and visitors to notify us in advance if they feel they are at risk for COVID-19 and to take preventative measures for the safety of themselves, and others.
- If you have flu or cold-like symptoms such as a cough or fever, newly developed shortness of breath, or if you have recently traveled to an area outside the US with known coronavirus (COVID-19) or been in contact with someone who has traveled or contracted the virus, please call us at 566.2811 to reschedule your appointment
- As part of our Appointment Confirmation System, we will ask if you are ill. Do you have a fever, cough, sore throat, muscle pain, or GI symptoms? If so, it is wise to reschedule your dental appointment. The odds of you having the Coronavirus are slim at this time, but you could infect other patients and team members with a cold or flu.
- You will be presented with a short questionnaire about recent illnesses and travel. Anyone recently ill or who has traveled to the listed countries should reschedule no sooner than 14 days after recovery or returning from the trip. Current countries include:
- China, Hong Kong or Macau
- South Korea
- Northern Italy (or all of Italy)
Our goal is to provide all our patients with a safe environment to receive dental care. While rescheduling may inconvenience both our patient’s and our office, we do believe these simple protocols will help ensure everyone’s safety.
INFECTION CONTROL PROTOCOLS:
Since the AIDS crisis, Dentistry has always risen to the challenge of protecting our patients from the latest infectious disease challenge. We value the trust you show in our office. We want to reassure you we comply with and often exceed the guidelines for sterilization and patient protection from the American Dental Association. I wanted to share with you some of what we do. Our philosophy has always been and will always be “to treat our patients as if they were our own family members.” Here are some things that our dental office does to protect you:
- Our philosophy is: If it can’t be heat sterilized, use disposable. The best method of sterilization is autoclaving. The process utilizes steam pressure to kill bacteria and viruses. If an item cannot withstand the extreme heat and pressure of an autoclave, we attempt to use disposable items. Those few items that are not disposable and cannot be autoclaved are covered with a disposable barrier and wiped clean with a surface disinfectant after use.
- For sterilization to be effective, instruments must be clean. All used instruments are first washed and sanitized in our Hydrim instrument washer system. After a 26-minute wash cycle, the instruments are clean, dry, and sanitized. They are now ready for the autoclave.
- Our dental handpieces are cleaned, flushed, and lubricated in our automated handpiece maintenance system. Once the cycle is complete, the handpieces are ready to be sterilized.
- We verify sterilization of every tray with a sterilization integrator. Every tray and pack contain an integrator that verifies sterilization prior to patient use. We also complete weekly spore testing utilizing a third-party testing lab. Each week, we submit a test to a monitoring service to verify the effectiveness of our autoclave.
- Dental unit waterlines can be a source of infection. Each of our dental units is equipped with a closed water bottle system. These systems allow us to treat and flush the units to prevent build-up of potentially dangerous biofilms. Our dental unit waterlines are protected with Dentapure filters and Bio-bottles.
- Our treatment rooms are sanitized after each patient. Before you enter our examination and hygiene rooms, all surfaces, including the dental chair, dental light, drawer handles, X-rays sensors and unit, computer and mouse, and countertops, have been cleaned and decontaminated and fresh disposable barriers placed.
- All our dental team members involved in contact with patients always wash their hands before and after every patient and use only fresh gloves.
- In order to reduce post-operative discomfort and reduce the spread of colds and viruses, we request each patient complete a 30-second mouth rinse prior to treatment. The rinse significantly reduces the bacteria and viruses found in the office air and on surfaces.
After a review of our protocols, we will:
- Post signs at entrances with instructions to patients with symptoms of respiratory infection to:
- Cover mouths /noses when sneezing or coughing
- Use disposable tissues
- Perform hand hygiene after coughing or sneezing
- Provide tissues, no-touch receptacles for disposal, and hand sanitize in the reception area.
- Offer masks to anyone presenting with a persistent cough after they enter the office. These patients will be rescheduled and given appropriate referrals if needed.
- We will no longer re-use patient safety glasses. Patients are encouraged to use their own glasses or will be provided disposable safety glasses.
INCREASE FREQUENCY OF CLEANING PUBLIC SPACES
- Our team has committed to continuous cleaning of surfaces, knobs, and handles in our public spaces.
Our goal is to provide all our patients with a safe environment to receive dental care. While, rescheduling may inconvenience both our patient’s and our office, we do believe these simple protocols will help ensure everyone’s safety.
The dedicated team at Markiewicz Dental