How Dental Decontamination can Rebuild Patient Confidence
Panic is a dangerous phenomenon. COVID-19 sent stock markets tumbling and drove a significant number of the population to hoard toilet tissue, pasta and soap. It will take some time to return to a sense of normality, and it will impact many areas of people’s lives, including their oral health.
While the pandemic has led to grave consequences, mass panic is never helpful and it is important for people to return to a normal routine as soon as possible. The public’s trust in professionals can only be maintained by consistently providing reliable advice and guidance on health and safety.
During the pandemic, treatment and check-ups for many patients have been unavoidably delayed or cancelled. In some cases, patients’ oral conditions will have deteriorated more with the passing of time. We can also expect to see the repercussions of social distancing and self-quarantine on patient health and state of mind.
Most of the time when we discuss dental fear, we are speaking of patients with an irrational fear of dentists and/or potential treatment, this fear can discourage someone from attending the practice.
Even under normal circumstances, patients can be submerged in a media environment that exacerbates their worries, and this can affect many but be particularly difficult for patients with certain mental health conditions such as anxiety and obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD). When a health crisis or a failure in clinical care reaches the headlines, especially over a protracted period, this can be challenging.
Dental practices have invested in strategies to ensure that stringent standards are met to reduce risks and provide a safe environment for staff and patients, hopefully, this will rebuild patient’s trust, helping them to feel confident returning to the dentist. W&H have put together a step-by-step video guide on advanced infection prevention, which can be viewed here.
The COVID-19 pandemic has been a serious reminder of the importance of hygiene, disinfection and sterilization which should be rigorously practised at all times, but special attention should be paid to decontamination using top-quality equipment such as the Lara sterilizer from W&H.
Finding the right decontamination equipment
Effective decontamination of instruments and following a strict cross-infection regime in accordance with HTM 01-05 is of paramount importance. Instruments must be cleaned, lubricated and then correctly sterilised. Following effective cleaning, dental handpieces require lubricating with manufacturer recommended service oil or using an automatic system such as the Assistina Twin from W&H with a cycle time of 10 seconds, prior to sterilisation.
Manufacturer’s instructions should always be adhered to, whether lubricating manually or using an automatic system. Bagging and sterilisation then follows in accordance with manufacturer instructions, HTM 01-05 and/or other appropriate guidelines. The autoclave is a key piece of equipment in any dental practice and clean saturated steam under pressure is by far the most reliable medium for the sterilisation of medical devices. For unrivalled sterilisation, W&H offers dental practices the Lara steriliser with a 38-minute cycle for an average load and a fast cycle from 20 minutes.
Trust and understanding quash panic, create an environment patients feel safe within. Infection prevention and control is fundamental to ensuring this, and patients are more likely to feel reassured by you explaining some of the steps you take to ensure they are protected from potentially harmful diseases.