How to Prevent Cross Contamination in Dental and Medical Offices?

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When patients go into a dental or medical office, they want to have a smooth visit and not receive any bad reports. This includes not getting contaminated by something. The same goes for the staff at these offices - they want to stay healthy themselves.

Cross-contamination in a dental office can be a big problem - it happens when someone touches a microorganism, or a contaminated object, or inhaled droplets or air pathogens. This can happen in a variety of ways, via bodily fluids like saliva or blood.

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Being Alert For Cross Contamination

Dental and medical offices have to be on guard from the very start of each day. Each patient and even another staff member bring their own set of potential contaminants and it's important to keep things clean throughout. It's not just the medical or dental equipment that people need to focus on. Even the pens that people use to sign in can pose a potential risk.

That's why it's important for the entire office to take a proactive approach - from the receptionist to the dental hygienist to a nurse to the dentist or doctor. If one person in that whole chain doesn't take precautions, then it could undo everyone else's work.


It's a Matter of Touch

These contaminants are also hardy, with some of them being able to survive on a non-disinfected surface for days to even months. A lot of these infectious diseases are passed along by touch. This isn't only a worry about a dental or medical staff infecting or being infected by patients - they can also infect each other.

A very common surface that is an easy place to get infected is the chair. That and the countertops are spots where a simple touch can result in a lot of possible problems.

One of the best ways to do this is to keep environmental cross-contamination by touching certain surfaces from happening. The best way to prevent cross-contamination is to keep routinely sterilizing those surfaces by using disinfectants and also putting disposable barriers on them.


Using The Right Products

It's not as simple as going out and just buying the first cleaning products that you see. You want to make sure that the Environmental Protection Agency has given their approval for them. Also, you want to get things that can do the disinfecting even if they are on the surface for a short time. You don't want to keep people waiting five minutes each time. That can create a lot of backlogs.

You also want to make sure that the disinfectants are not going to wind up damaging the equipment both in terms of its appearance and/or functionality. That could wind up being costly due to having to buy the replacements for them a lot sooner than they would like.

In both dental and medical offices, the main concern with cross-contamination is inattentiveness. The staff at these places must be focused at all times, which can be difficult when it's the end of a long day. It can be easy to absent-mindedly touch one thing and then touch something else.


Masks and Filters

When it comes to cross-infection in dentistry, it could be easier to prevent airborne pathogens by wearing masks. There will be a barrier that keeps those things from even entering the air. Some offices even like to have their staff wear both masks and plastic face shields. That extra layer can add quite a bit of difference for both the person wearing it and the one that is being treated.

Also, due to the risk of Covid-19, a lot of medical and dental offices have installed HEPA filters, which can also greatly reduce the chances of any contamination, whether via the patient or staff talking.

There are a lot of ways to prevent cross-contamination. It takes everyone to pay close attention and not become distracted. While there is no 100% fool proof way to keep a medical or dental office completely disinfected, by doing the above, you give yourself the best chance to do just that.

So, when you go into your office, you will know that you are doing everything you can to keep yourself, your staff, and also your patients as safe as possible. Then you will be able to focus on making sure that people have healthy teeth or bodies. That will make all the effort worth it.

Author: Fay Smith