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Everyone at the office is very friendly and helpful, and the technicians are great. I feel like Westerville Dental is very much on top of the latest screening and monitoring techniques, and I really appreciate the thoroughness of the appointments in terms of measuring gum health as well as tooth health. I chose this place when I moved down here based on the good reviews, and I haven't been disappointed.
So professional AND friendly. I know that I am getting the best care for my whole family. Plus, the waiting area is beautiful and comfortable--like a living room!--with a special area for young ones to read and draw on the chalk boards.
So glad I found this office when I moved back to Ohio. I’ve had so many bad experiences at the dentist, this place is understanding and open to my questions, they explain everything and it really seems like they care. They also have an open and inviting waiting room that is beautiful.
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Safety comes first at Westerville Dental Associates, and sterilization of our dental tools and equipment helps us ensure that our patients and our staff remain safe. Sterilization prevents the growth of bacteria on the instruments we use and on a number of surfaces throughout our practice. Our sterilization practices make sure that the germs in your mouth don’t make their way into anyone else’s mouth, and that germs from the patient before you don’t get on you.
You might be surprised by the amount of work that goes into preparing office space and dental tools just for you. We clean the treatment room in between each patient we see, and disinfect equipment used in administering oral care.
Why Sterilization Is Important in Dentistry
When our team of dentists perform examinations or other procedures on patients, our tools and equipment often come into contact with patients’ saliva. Some dental procedures cause bleeding, which exposes our dental tools to blood.
Microorganisms in a patient’s blood or saliva can carry bacteria and diseases, such as hepatitis, staph, herpes, tuberculosis, and strep. These bacteria and diseases can remain on unsterilized or poorly sterilized tools to pass from one patient to the next; bacteria and diseases can also pass from patients to staff members handling the unsterilized or poorly sterilized tools. In fact, certain viruses, bacteria, and diseases can stay on surfaces for hours or days. Touching an exposed surface puts patients and staff at risk for contracting diseases.
The infections resulting from improper sterilization practices can cause illness, which can be serious or lead to complications, particularly if you have any pre-existing conditions. Breaches in equipment sterilization and cleaning processes can allow harmful bacteria, such as Pseudomonas aeruginosa, E. coli, MRSA (methicillin resistant Staphylococcus aureus), Clostridium sordellii, and salmonella to remain on the surface of the tools. Improper sterilization can also allow the transmission of HIV, hepatitis B and C, and other infectious diseases. These infections and diseases can cause severe illness and require further medical attention.
Sterilization helps our team of dentists prevent the spread of infectious illnesses as we improve the health and cosmetic appeal of your smile.
How Does the Team at Westerville Dental Associates Sterilize Equipment?
Every member of our team performs several tasks each day, but one of the most important jobs is battling bacteria and other germs. We follow a number of best practices and processes from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to clean and sterilize our equipment. These best practices include wearing gloves and masks while handling potentially contaminated equipment, and using special containers to transport the equipment through our clinic.
Hospital-Grade Disinfectant and Protective Covers
In addition to equipment sterilization, we protect any treatment room surfaces and equipment that our team touches throughout procedures with disposable plastic barriers and/or clean them with hospital-grade disinfectant. We clean light handles, patient chairs, and keyboards, for example, as well as door handles, countertops, and more. We disinfect these surfaces between each and every patient, whether or not the patient has an illness.
We use disposable, single-use tools and supplies as needed. These single-use dental tools and supplies include the suction tips that we use to remove water from your mouth, polishing cups, cotton rolls, plastic coverings and barriers, gloves, syringe needles, patient napkins, anesthetic cartridges, and more. We safely dispose of these items according to recommended guidelines after each appointment.
We clean and sterilize any items that are not single-use. These items include metal instruments, mouth mirrors, and forceps. At Westerville Dental Associates, we use high-end dental sterilization technology that makes the process extremely efficient.
First, we put this equipment through a cycle in an ultrasonic cleaner that uses a disinfecting solution to remove any saliva, blood, or germs before disinfection or sterilization; this cleaner works somewhat like a dishwasher to blast debris from the surface of the equipment.
Next, we rinse the tools thoroughly and place our tools in an autoclave that uses high heat, steam, and pressure to sterilize them. The autoclave brings its steamy interior to a high temperature and pressure, and holds temperature and pressure constant for a predetermined amount of time. This action kills bacteria and viruses on the surfaces of anything inside the autoclave. Autoclaves also perform a vacuum that allows water vapor to penetrate difficult-to-access surfaces of the equipment.
At Westerville Dental Associates, we adhere to stringent guidelines that require every dental office to regularly test their autoclave to ensure that it works properly to kill all viruses and bacteria that could pass from one patient to another. Infection control is a critical component of patient care, and of utmost importance to every member of the Westerville Dental Associates team. We make every effort possible to lower the risk of infection by sanitizing our instruments and cleaning our office spaces.
Sterilization is important in dentistry because it is effective at preventing the spread of everything from the common to COVID-19. At Westerville Dental Associates, you can be confident that your smile – and your health – are in good hands! Contact us at Westerville Dental Associates to make an appointment!