Does Your Dentist Do These 6 Things for Your Health and Safety?

Cartoon titled "Dental Health and Safety" with blue prize ribbon and clipboard showing six checkmarks

To ensure your health and safety, what does a truly outstanding dental office do? In addition to using modern technology and taking regular continuing education courses to keep up with the newest treatment techniques, the most diligent dental providers take special steps for sterilization and infection control. Go behind the scenes with our OSHA coordinator Staci Kubovcik to learn about Winchester Dental’s best industry practices.

Do they. . .

. . .use a water filtration system?

Clean water is a vital part of nearly every dental procedure! Staci Kubovcik explains, “At Winchester Dental, our main water filtration system includes four filters, each of which filters out specific substances. After it passes through these filters, the water flows past an ultraviolet light, which kills any bacteria remaining in the water before we ever use it. This also helps to keep bacterial colonies from growing within the filtration system. We use this filtered water in all our treatment rooms, as well as our instrument sterilizers.”

. . .ensure sterile instruments?

Whenever possible, we use disposable instruments. For non-disposable instruments, our sterilization protocol is thorough. We first run these through a special machine to clean off surface debris and then sterilize them in our lab at a temperature of 135 degrees Celsius (275 degrees Fahrenheit).

Dental assistant Staci Kubovcik discusses our best industry health and safety practices.

. . .use an amalgam separator?

An amalgam separator protects your health and safety by protecting the environment. Amalgam is the remains of old dental fillings. Some of these contain mercury, which can be environmentally harmful to wildlife. By 2020, the Commonwealth of Virginia will legally require all dental practices to collect amalgam waste separately and dispose of it in an environmentally responsible manner. “At Winchester Dental, we’ve been using an amalgam separator for over five years, in accordance with the ADA’s best practice guidelines for removal and disposal of amalgam waste. Our separator keeps the amalgam waste from flowing into the sewer system. We then ship it to a facility for proper disposal,” says Staci.

. . .provide lead aprons with protective thyroid collars?

When we take dental x-rays, we first drape you with a lead apron and a protective thyroid collar. The thyroid gland, located just below your neck, is especially sensitive to radiation. This can cause health problems in excessive amounts. Not all lead aprons include thyroid collars, but you may expect this extra step as a usual practice for your health and safety at Winchester Dental.

. . .wear basic face protection?

All our team members wear face masks and protective glasses any time we perform a treatment in your mouth. This provides you basic, effective health protection by creating a barrier between your mouth and your provider’s eyes, nose, and mouth.

. . .provide you protective eyewear?

Protective eyewear for patients has always been a vital part of the laser treatments we provide. It is also an important part of our protocol for certain dental treatments. Staci explains, “Whenever a dentist and an assistant will be passing instruments back and forth (for example, if we are removing old amalgam), we provide you goggles to keep your eyes safe and free of exposure to infection-causing substances.”