Understanding The Many Steps We Take To Maintain Dental Clinic Cleanliness

By Dr. Christopher Li, DDS

December 12, 2022

clean dental clinic, dental clinic cleanliness, dental clinic safety

We want you to feel safe every time you visit our clinic. Although it might seem a dental clinic is probably a very germy place, our clinics must adhere to the highest standards of infection prevention and control; higher than almost any other health field in Canada. The Li Family Dental team follows every single dental clinic cleanliness standard outlined by the Ontario regulatory body with our own written policies and the highest standards of training in the industry. Here are the many steps we take to maintain a safe, clean dental clinic for your family.

Dental Clinic Cleanliness Before, During And After Your Appointment

We have three phases in our cleaning protocol to keep you safe:

1. Before Your Appointment

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We ensure the operatory where we provide assessments, cleanings and treatments are held to the highest standards of cleaning before your arrival. This includes cleaning everything you will touch, such as your chair or TV remote, as well as frequently touched surfaces by our staff, including the trays, lights, countertops, handles, etc., using industry-approved disinfectants. We also apply single-use barriers to your chair’s headrest.

Other devices where single-use barriers are required, such as suction devices and x-ray equipment, are applied after we clean and sterilize the surfaces. Each room is given the appropriate instruments for your appointment, delivered fully sterilized and individually wrapped to be opened when your dentist or hygienist begins your treatment. All counters are clutter-free with the required tools and items kept within reach. We also purge water lines to remove germs and bacteria.

2. During Your Appointment

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Once you are seated, we wash our hands and put on a fresh pair of single-use gloves. We also wear a mask for your protection. You are provided with clean safety goggles, and we only open the sterile pouch of instruments when we are ready to begin. If our team touches anything that could contaminate their hands, they remove their gloves, wash their hands and apply a fresh pair of single-use gloves.

As tools or equipment are used, we pre-clean them, so they are free of debris before entering the reprocessing area. If pre-cleaning is not possible, used equipment and instruments are soaked in a safe container to reduce the risk of debris hardening.

3. After Your Appointment

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Once your visit is complete, we take the following steps to maintain a safe clean dental clinic:

  • All instruments, trays and tools are covered and sent to our designated reprocessing area
  • All sharps used during your appointment are placed in a puncture-resistant sharps container so we can safely transport them to our reprocessing area for disposal
  • We identify all single-use items and dispose of them safely to ensure they are not reused or entered into the reprocessing cycle
  • All instruments are cleaned and sterilized in the reprocessing area after every appointment
  • The entire operatory is wiped down
  • All garbage is disposed of using proper protocols
  • Once the room is cleaned, it is kept empty until the next appointment begins
  • All complex equipment is taken apart so every piece can be thoroughly cleaned and sanitized

How Do I Know My Dental Clinic Uses Clean Tools At All My Appointments?

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Our clinic has a designated reprocessing area to ensure we reduce the risk of cross-contamination of used instruments and equipment. Our one-way workflow ensures we only work from dirty to clean to further prevent cross-contamination. In the reprocessing area, we have several areas for each task, including:

  • An area to receive, clean and decontaminate instruments
  • An area for preparing and packing clean and sanitized instruments
  • A sterilization area
  • A storage area for sterilized instrument pouches

All instruments remain in our clean, dry storage area, far out of reach of contaminants. Instruments remain inside their sterile packaging until they are needed for patient care. We use an approved sterilization process for instruments and equipment that comes into contact with patients or that are present in operatories when patients are treated or examined.

What Is The Reprocessing Procedure For Dental Clinic Cleanliness?

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Reprocessing cleans, disinfects, and sterilizes reusable equipment and devices used at our clinic. It involves special guidelines and procedures created by the provincial government to reduce the spread of illness and bacterial infections. Our reprocessing area adheres to the strictest of rules, including keeping records of each instrument’s sterilization cycle to ensure the equipment is functioning properly.

Details in the reprocessing area that help reduce the risk for contamination include an extra deep sink and special nonporous worksurfaces designed for easy cleaning and disinfecting. Our team only uses a dedicated hand washing sink when working in the reprocessing area. We also have an environmental cleaning schedule which we follow using a written policy outlining the entire procedure so nothing is missed. All contaminated equipment, tools and devices are kept in a specific area, so they never come into contact with patients until sterilized and ready for use.

All dental clinic cleanliness processes use ultrasonic cleaning and recommended cleaning procedures based on the specific requirements for the instruments and equipment in question. We even test our ultrasonic cleaners for sonification performance daily, so there is zero risk of malfunction during the cleaning and sterilization process. If there is any question about something not going through reprocessing properly, it is thrown out.

What Are Single-Use Items?

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As the name implies, single-use items are only meant to be used once. We use single-use items when possible to reduce the risk of contamination, such as air/water syringe tips and high-volume suction tips. We also put newly purchased tools and devices through reprocessing to ensure they are sterile before their first use.

The Li Family Dental Team’s Committment To Dental Clinic Cleanliness

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The Li Family Dental team plays a vital role in our dental clinic cleanliness process. It all begins with detailed training and education, with each team member receiving the required certification to work at our office.

Cleaning applies to all areas of our clinic, including the reception area, our office, the bathrooms, and any areas where we treat our patients. We ensure the high-risk areas for contamination remain pristine and that every team member follows the strict protocols and guidelines we have in place. Continuing education programs ensure we are up to date on the latest procedures, so each team member maintains the required level of knowledge to perform their jobs safely.

Please feel free to reach out to our team for information, including questions about our safe office policies for dental clinic cleanliness.

Give us a call at 416-232-2033 or request an appointment by clicking here.

Dr. Christopher Li, DDS

About the author

Dr. Christopher Li; Dr. Chris, as he is affectionately known, is a licensed dentist with over 20 years of experience. His caring personality makes even the most tentative person at ease. Patients are constantly commenting about how Dr. Chris is incredible at delivering pain-free freezing, and how he has an amazing chair-side manner.

Dr. Chris and his team have built an exceptional dental clinic serving The Queensway, Etobicoke, Toronto and surrounding areas.

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