Medical and dental professionals understand the risks that can come with working in the healthcare industry. Exposure to harmful pathogens and airborne particles can lead to devastating consequences if not equipped with the proper materials. Fortunately, personal protective equipment (PPE) has been around for decades helping to keep doctors and dentists better protected. But what are they, and how are they effective at preventing the spread of COVID-19? As you prepare for your next appointment, find out which items your dentist in Spring Lake is using to stay safe.
Beyond the Mask: Learning the Ins and Outs of PPE
If you believe that the only real method of protection from COVID-19 in a dental setting is a surgical mask, that’s simply not the case. While protective eyewear, gloves, face masks, face shields, and disposable gowns are all considered personal protective equipment (PPE), it’s important that staff members follow guidelines provided by the Occupational Safety & Hazard Administration (OSHA) to ensure these items are properly used.
In fact, the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) states that all dental healthcare personnel must receive proper training and demonstrate a clear understanding of how and when to use PPE, which ones are necessary, how to dispose of them safely as well as disinfect reusable PPE and the limitations of these materials.
How Your Dentist is Staying Safe
While it might sound extreme that proper training is necessary to put on a mask or gown, it can mean being exposed or remaining safe when dealing with potentially harmful or dangerous bacteria. As it pertains to COVID-19, the virus is easily spread from person-to-person. With this in mind, dentists must make sure their PPE is properly in place because of the necessary proximity they must maintain when treating patients.
So which ones will you likely see your dentist in Spring Lake wearing the next time you visit?
- Protective Eyewear – These clear glasses make it possible to avoid any saliva or blood from splashing or splattering into the eyes during an exam or dental procedure.
- Gloves – Because dentists must maneuver their hands within a patient’s mouth, gloves help to protect both parties from transferring germs to each other.
- Face Mask/Shield – While you might assume that a face mask is enough, it depends on the type of treatment your dentist will be conducting. For a simple checkup and cleaning, a face mask may be enough; however, if performing an aerosol-generating procedure, a shield can protect the face from anything that might splatter or splash upward from your mouth.
- Disposable Gown – Instead of relying on reusable lab coats, many dentists and their team opt for disposable gowns because of the ease in being able to throw them away once finished with your treatment. Any germs or bacteria that cling to the material is properly disposed of, keeping everyone safe from possible cross-contamination.
The next time you see your dentist in Spring Lake, you may not recognize them because of the layers of PPE. But it is important to know that no matter what is shielding their appearance, they can still provide the highest level of quality dental care to meet your needs.
About the Author
Dr. Edward J. Dooley attended the University of Pennsylvania’s School of Dental Medicine to achieve his Doctor of Dental Medicine. As a veteran of the United States Navy, serving from 1982-1985, he opened his practice in 1986 and has been helping residents of Spring Lake achieve healthier smiles ever since. He and his team at Dooley Dental are taking your health and safety seriously, which is why they are wearing personal protective equipment to avoid possible contamination or exposure to harmful bacteria. If you are preparing for an upcoming appointment and want to learn what else is being done to ensure a successful visit, check out the website or call (732) 974-2288.