COVID-19 Safety Measures at Georgian Dental Clinics
COVID-19 Safety Measures at Georgian Dental Clinics
How is Georgian Dental Keeping Patients and Staff Safe During COVID-19?
Staying safe during the current COVID-19 pandemic requires diligent care and attention by the public and by businesses of all types, including dental care clinics like Georgian Dental. Protecting you and your family from the risks of COVID-19 is our top priority, and it’s a matter that we take extremely seriously.
On that note, we believe it is our responsibility to take the time to keep our patients informed and educated on the extensive array of safety protocols and protective measures we have in place at our facilities, as well as on new procedures and equipment that have been implemented recently, to help ensure you and your family stay safe whenever you visit our clinics.
Before we move on, however, it’s necessary to review how transmission of COVID-19 occurs from person to person in order to fully understand how our current list of safety and protection measures work to keep patients and staff safe.
What do patients need to know about how COVID-19 is transmitted?
As detailed by the Government of Canada’s online COVID-19 resource section, the virus is transmitted through close contact, and occurs when airborne droplets are expelled by the infected individual by actions such as coughing, sneezing, which are then inhaled by others. Transmission can also occur through contaminated surfaces, where an infected individual has passed the virus to a surface that is then touched by other people, and those people then touch their mouth, nose, or eyes with unwashed hands. Common greetings and physical contacts such as handshakes, hugs, and kisses are also methods of transmission of the COVID-19 virus.
These methods of transmission mean that safety measures and decontamination protocols are focused on addressing these specific factors. Maintaining sanitized air in all clinic spaces, preventing the transmission of airborne droplets, frequent decontamination of surfaces, and personal protective measures are all essential parts of the COVID-19 safety plan in place at Georgian Dental.
Now, let’s dive in to this plan in more detail, and explore the many different safety measures and equipment we use to keep patients, their families, and our staff protected.
What safety protocols are being followed in the clinic during COVID-19?
Georgian Dental employs a comprehensive plan to ensure all dental safety protocols and procedures are followed precisely and with the utmost care and attention. We call our unique approach the Sterilization Quality Assurance Directive, or SQuAD. This collection of procedures is specifically designed to ensure complete protection of patients and staff in all situations and points of contact.
For starters, our clinic is cleaned and sanitized regularly and thoroughly. This includes all surfaces and touchpoints throughout the reception area, waiting room, treatment areas, and all other spaces in and outside the clinic. Items such as chairs, pens, doorknobs, and even the debit/credit machine are kept clean and sanitized before and after each person comes in contact with them.
Staff are monitored and screened each day prior to the start of business for any potential signs and symptoms of COVID-19. This screening includes temperature measuring and blood oxygen testing, as well as a full review of all symptoms and warning signs associated with the COVID-19 virus. Prior to appointments, all patients are surveyed in a similar manner for any risks or potential signs of COVID-19 infection or exposure. Only when verified and confirmed that this screening has been completed and passed are patients and staff permitted to enter the clinic.
One of the most important safety measures in place at Georgian Dental clinics has actually been used since long before COVID-19. This is our strict method of sterilization for all instruments used in any dental treatment procedures, as well as the precise monitoring and cataloging of each set of instruments as they move through the sanitization process. This tracking and data collection allows Georgian Dental to know exactly which instruments were used for any particular patient at any time. This meticulous record keeping is critical not just during COVID-19, but has been extremely valuable in maintaining patient safety and security at all times.
Furthermore, the effectiveness of each autoclave machine used to sanitize instruments is verified each day using a Biological Indicator (BI) test. During this test, a sealed capsule containing biological material is placed inside each sterilization autoclave and run through a standard sanitization cycle. At the completion of the cycle, the capsule is removed and examined to ensure the complete destruction of the contained biological substance. If the material is 100% destroyed during the sanitization cycle, the autoclave is confirmed to be calibrated correctly and working properly.
In order for many of these safety protocols to be properly managed, specialized equipment is needed. While much of this equipment was already in use at Georgian Dental prior to COVID-19 in order to fulfil our previously established patient protection requirements, there have been several additions and refinements in recent months.
How has Georgian Dental equipped the clinic for greater protection and safety?
Starting with the entrance to the clinic and the main reception area, you will notice clear plexiglass dividers that offer a barrier between patients and reception staff during the check in process. Hand sanitizer stations have been strategically placed throughout the clinic in order to facilitate frequent sanitization of the hands of patients and staff.
Once you proceed to the individual treatment areas and exam spaces, you will notice that each room has been isolated using a zippered door enclosure to prevent air movement from space to space. Furthermore, each individual area is equipped with a dedicated HEPA filter to thoroughly scrub and clean the air, removing airborne particles from the air in a continuous cycle.
Dynamic air-removal sterilizers, also known as ‘vapor vac’ systems, are also present in treatment areas. These re-positional vacuum units provide additional protection for patients and staff by capturing and containing airborne particles produced during certain types of dental treatments, such as hygiene and tooth cleanings, and acts as reinforcement measures to the in-room HEPA filtration systems.
Of course, equipping the clinic with this advanced protection is only one part of the equation when keeping patients and staff safe. The other element required is a complete array of personal protective equipment for staff to ensure they are prepared to perform treatments for our patients with the maximum level of protection and isolation from the surrounding environment.
What Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) are Georgian Dental staff using?
With regards to face masks, direction from government health organizations has specified that N95 respirators are the standard level of protection required for health care providers. At Georgian Dental, we equip our staff with an even greater level of protection in the form of P100 masks and respirators.
Staff are also equipped with clear face shields, as well as all the other medical protective apparel that is required to provide an effective protective barrier for staff members in a dental clinic environment, such as examination gowns, gloves, and more.
What else has Georgian Dental done to ensure patient safety?
Perhaps one of the most important ways that Georgian Dental has worked to provide a safe and secure environment for our patients is through producing educational and informative articles such as this one. We firmly believe that all patients have the right to be informed with accurate, up-to-date information on what we are doing to provide a safe environment for the dental care we provide to you and your family.
We encourage all patients to contact us at any time with questions or concerns that they may have about their dental care during this difficult time. The team here at Georgian Dental is committed to providing top quality dental care that truly goes above and beyond. If you’ve been putting off aspects of your dental health over concerns related to COVID-19, please don’t hesitate to reach out to our team of professionals. We are eager to help you get your dental health back on track, while keeping you and your family safe every step of the way.