Looking at you, coronavirus.
Although the coronavirus (officially known as 2019-nCoV) is currently the hot topic on the news, it is only one of many viruses and infections that your doctor takes precautions against. Dental health care professionals follow standard guidelines laid out by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to maintain a healthy environment in their offices. Patient health and safety is the top priority, especially at Rhoades Family Dentistry!
What are these standard guidelines?
Great question! At RFD, we make sure to understand the health of the whole patient – not just their mouth. This is especially important during the cold and flu season. Dr. Maria Geisinger, chair of the American Dental Association on Scientific Affairs, advises that understanding a patient’s potential exposure to disease or current symptoms can play a role in stopping the spread of infectious disease. Complete knowledge of a patient’s health is also crucial in deciding the next step in their dental care. Non-emergency dental work can be postponed until a patient is healthier, thus making time spent at the dentist more efficient and comfortable!
Additionally, dental health professionals use several methods to maintain sterile equipment and office environments. To ensure that fluids such as saliva and blood (which can transmit bacteria and viruses) don’t spread from patient to patient, strict procedures are followed as set out by the CDC, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Most dental instruments are sterilized using special machines, such as an autoclave, dry-heat oven, or chemical vapor. Replaceable parts of tools are used whenever possible, like the tip of the suction tool that pulls saliva or blood from your mouth during a cleaning or procedure. Plus, items like gloves, cotton balls, and needle syringes are only used one time and then disposed of according to – you guessed it – more specific guidelines!
Now, back to that coronavirus…
We know this specific virus might be on the top of your mind! It’s hard to ignore when the news reports on it frequently. We hope the above information gives you some background about how prepared we are to protect you from infections and viruses! Currently, the CDC reports that the health risk from the coronavirus to the general American public is considered low. Rather, they emphasize that the flu is actually a greater threat, and standard precautions like the flu vaccine, hand-washing, and surface disinfection can help avoid it.
At Rhoades Family Dentistry, we have also heard some concerns about where dental work is being made. It’s true that many dental labs outsource certain parts of the process to China to save on costs, which could mean products have come from areas where the coronavirus is present.
If you are a Rhoades patient, we are proud to ensure that all of your dental work stays local! Drs. Hahn and Driscoll only work with labs and vendors that have ensured the quality of their products and supplies. These vendors source items safely – meaning from well-known and thoroughly documented manufacturers in the United States. These manufacturers adhere to all U.S. FDA guidelines, which provides another layer of protection and safety to the dental work that they produce. In fact, we are on a first-name basis with the dental lab we use and trust! Barb, the lab manager at NDX Mallow-Tru dental lab in Lee’s Summit, MO can attest to sourcing all of our dental hardware locally and within the United States.
Part of our philosophy of care at Rhoades Family Dental is to keep you healthy and pain-free. We value the trust you place in us to make that happen. If you are not already a patient with us, schedule an appointment to experience the difference we bring to the table – or actually, your mouth!