What should a dentist do to maintain a sterile office?

Infection control procedures are precautions taken in healthcare settings to prevent the spread of disease. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), working with the American Dental Association (ADA), has developed special recommendations for use in dental offices.

Before you enter the examining room, all surfaces, such as the dental chair, dental light, drawer handles and countertops have been cleaned and decontaminated. Some offices may cover this equipment with protective covers, which are replaced after each patient.
Non-disposable items like the dental tools or handpieces are cleaned and sterilized between patients. You may not be aware that sterilization and other infection control precautions take place before your dental visit because many of these procedures occur in another area of the dental office. Disposable items like needles or gauze are placed in special bags or containers.

Infection control precautions also require all dental staff involved in patient care to use appropriate protective garb such as gloves, and sometimes masks, gowns and eyewear. After each patient, disposable wear like the gloves and masks are discarded. Before seeing the next patient, the treatment team washes their hands and put on a new pair of gloves.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.