The American Dental Association (ADA) announced on May 21 that it will provide additional detailed guidelines to dental offices resuming their operations. The announcement came after the ADA's recommended limitation on practice ended on April 30 and saw dental clinics around the country returning to business.
What is the Return to Work Interim Guidance Toolkit?
The Return to Work Interim Guidance Toolkit outlines the safety measures your dental staff should take before, during, and after a dental appointment to ensure the safety of your patients. The toolkit comes with:
- Sample letters
- Pre-appointment screening guide
- Procedures for in-office patient registration
- Preparation strategies for the reception area
- Chair-side checklist
- Strategies for staff protection
- A shopping list of needed supplies
All you need to do is fill out a form, and the ADA will send you an email on how you can access the toolkit.
ADA's interim guidance
The ADA released their interim guidance in April, and it builds around the infection control protocols already used by many dental clinics. It requires your dental staff to use the highest level of personal protective equipment (PPE) to keep them and your patients safe during dental appointments and operations. This interim guidance also includes:
What to do before a dental appointment
This outlines the actions your dental staff should take before a dental appointment, such as:
- Calling patients to ask about the current status of their health and asking those questions again once the patient arrives to ensure nothing has changed.
- Taking a patient's temperature before any dental procedure.
- Asking patients to wear facial masks when arriving at your dental clinic. This should be strictly followed, especially in cities or states that require people to wear masks in public.
- Limiting the number of people patients can bring during their dental appointment.
What to do during a dental appointment
These are the actions your staff must perform during a dental appointment:
- Ask patients to wait outside until the dentist is ready to see them.
- Remove toys and magazines from the dental office.
- Provide hand sanitizer or alcohol for patients to use.
- Sanitize items touched by patients such as furniture, clipboards, pens, and doors.
- Protect the computer keyboard used in the dental operatory with a disposable cover, allowing your staff to clean the keyboard between patients.
- Use a different set of PPE for each appointment.
What to do after a dental appointment
After each dental appointment or procedure, your staff should thoroughly and frequently clean areas where your patients have been. Your staff should use any of the following disinfectants recommended by the World Health Organization (WHO):
- Disinfectant I
- 80% ethanol
- 1.45% glycerine
- 0.125% hydrogen peroxide
- Disinfectant II
- 75% isopropanol
- 1.45% glycerine
- 0.125% hydrogen peroxide
The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) also has a list of commercial disinfectants you can use in your dental clinic. They are:
- Clorox Disinfecting Wipes
- Clorox Multi-Surface Cleaner + Bleach
- Clorox Commercial Solutions Disinfecting Spray
- Lysol Heavy-Duty Cleaner Disinfectant Concentrate
- Lysol Disinfectant Max Cover Mist
- Lysol Multi-Surface Cleaner
- Purell Professional Surface Disinfectant Wipes
- Sani-Prime Germicidal Spray
In addition, the interim guidance also provides information on how to reduce aerosols, which includes:
- Hand scaling instead of ultrasonic scaling when cleaning teeth
- Using high-velocity suction
- Using rubber dental dams
Implement a contactless flow to ensure the safety of your patients and staff. Here are some ways you can do this:
- Provide a way for your patients to review your treatment plans, update their medical history, and sign the appropriate forms online.
- Allow patients to schedule appointments electronically by sending them a link that lets them book their next visit online.
- Patients should send an SMS message to your clinic before arriving for an appointment to give your staff time to prepare.
- Upon arriving, patients can check themselves in using an online form and head straight to the operatory with no contact.
- Set up an online payment system where patients can pay for their appointment or procedure before or after visiting your clinic.
Aside from ensuring the safety of your staff and patients upon reopening, you also need to make sure your clinic's IT hardware and software are all running in tip-top condition. This is where Pact-One comes in. We're a dental IT services provider and our goal is to provide your clinic with Complete Technology Solutions you won't find anywhere else. Call us today to learn more about our services.