Cross infection, or the transmission of infection, from one person to another at dental offices is emerging as a major healthcare concern all around the world. The harsh reality is that you, as a patient, are unaware of what’s actually going on in your surroundings. The relationship you share with your dentist is primarily based on trust. Even a small violation of this trust can negatively impact reliability.
It is important to understand that cross contamination is invisible because it takes place by microbes that are present everywhere without being detectable to human eyes. As a result, it is only the dental professionals who can guarantee its absence.
Here’s a brief checklist for you to ensure at your end that the dentist has taken the issue of cross contamination rather seriously:
Watch the Gloves
Closely examine the gloves that dentists wear before treating patients because it will make contact with your mouth. Watch carefully how the dentist wears the gloves and where it is accessed from. Ideally, these gloves must be stored in a glove dispenser, not in any unsterilized, and potentially infectious, counter top.
Furthermore, if the dentist is touching anything other than your mouth and the sterile dental equipment, then make certain that he or she gets back to you with a fresh new pair of gloves.
Obtain Autoclave Validation
Typically, autoclave certification is something that dentists must clip on their bulletin board. It is basically a certificate from a third party that sends the dentist a sample of bacteria difficult to kill. The dentist puts this envelope in the sterilization machine, autoclave in this case, on a weekly or monthly basis and then sends it back to the company. The third party company then analyzes it and gives a detailed report of how efficiently the autoclave is functioning. This is also referred to as biological monitoring. As a patient, ask your dentist to show you the copy of their autoclave validation certificate. If he/she disagrees, then know that they are not genuinely interested in protecting your health.
Check the Instruments
Typically, the dentist must unzip a new pack of instruments in order to treat you. A sealed bag is an indication that the instruments within have been sterilized or autoclaved. However, if the bag is already unwrapped, then there is a great possibility that the instruments inside are used and contaminated with germs. Try to learn as much as you can about the barrenness of the instruments, the colors of the bags and whether the equipment inside was sufficiently sterilized.