2 Key Requirements for A Safe Dentist Appointment

May 8, 2019

When you go to the dentist, you want to make sure your teeth and gums get looked after but also know you are in a safe environment. What does a safe dental environment mean? It means a dentist who protects you from harm by using precautions for cleanliness and radiography.

1. Infection Control

As you sit in the dentist’s chair you may worry about the dental tools about to be used in your mouth. How does your dentist ensure the cleanliness of these tools so you don’t get a disease or infection from someone else? You certainly don’t want someone else’s saliva stuck to a tool that is going to be used on your teeth, yuck!

Cambrian Dental takes steps to ensure no germs spread and every dentist should do the same. What are these steps?

1. Tools get cleaned and sterilized before use on each new patient. How?

  • Dental tools are cleaned manually and mechanically.

Manual Clean: A soft-bristled brush and long cable might be used with a wire brush on drills. A brush for cleaning lumen and the rest of the instruments get washed in a sink with a deep tub faucet fitted with a steerable jet and running water. Tools become sterilized in an ultrasonic bath, used with detergent.

Mechanical Clean: Your dentist might use water jet washers to clean dental tools.

  • After the initial cleaning process, tools get rinsed with filtered water
  • Instruments are opened and dried with compressed air pistols void of oil or humidity or dried with paper towels and a clean lint-free cloth.
  • If any dental tool shows deterioration or corrosion, they get replaced.
  • The tools are wrapped in a package of surgical paper where the material allows the passage of steam. Chemical tape indicators, for time, temperature and presence of steam, are placed inside each package before sterilization. The tapes have a chemical reaction, shown through altering the colour, to indicate the stage of the cleaning process.
  • The tools become sterilized in an autoclave using saturated steam under pressure.

2. Before you enter the examination room, the dentist chair, light, drawer handles, and countertops get decontaminated and cleaned. There may even be a cover on the dental chair that is replaced with a new one after each patient.
3. The dentist and hygienists wash and sterilize their hands, put on a pair of gloves, and dispose of them after your treatment is complete. Masks, gowns and eyewear are also worn during dental procedures.

Cleaning guidelines are set out by the Alberta Dental Association and College. If you are concerned about the cleanliness of the dental tools used on you, ask your dentist about their cleaning process to be sure they are following these guidelines.

2. Radiography Protection

X-Rays or radiography are an important part of your oral exam. The pictures taken allow your dentist to view deep inside your oral cavity to see what they can’t with the naked eye. Are you concerned about radiation from the x-ray machines? Fear not.

  • Your dentist uses x-rays with low levels of radiation with a fraction of the exposure of a typical body x-ray. The low limits do not cause any harm to you.
  • Each case will be different, so your dentist will determine how often and when you need a dental x-ray based on their training and your individual oral issue.
  • If requested, lead aprons get placed over you during this type of procedure to ease your mind from the fear of radiology seepage. X-ray machines are so advanced these days that protective gear is not always needed. Thyroid collars are used in exams where the thyroid may become exposed to the main beam of the x-ray machine.

When you come to Cambrian Dental, you are in safe hands. You can truly relax in the dentist’s chair knowing you are well protected from germs and radiation. You will leave with a clean smile.

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