To keep you safe while you receive dental care during the COVID-19 pandemic, your dentist has implemented several additional steps to their usual infection control procedures. One important new dental safety protocol is the use of more personal protective equipment (PPE). The next time you visit your Richardson dentist, you may notice a new addition to their work wardrobe: a face shield. Find out why this piece of PPE may become the new normal at your dentist’s practice.
THE IMPORTANCE OF PPE IN COVID-19
Personal protective equipment is designed to protect a wearer’s mouth, nose, or eyes from germs. Since COVID-19 is transmitted when infected respiratory droplets come in contact with any of these vulnerable areas, adequate PPE is an essential part of staying safe during the pandemic. This is especially true for dental professionals who perform procedures that generate splashing, spattering, or aerosols that can easily spread the COVID-19 virus. While dentist’s have always worn PPE like gloves and masks, you may begin to see them wearing other items like disposable coats, eyewear, and face shields more often.
ADVANTAGES OF FACE SHIELDS
A face shield is a clear plastic visor that covers a majority of the face. Unlike masks and goggles, face shields cover the nose, mouth, and eyes all at the same time. Additional advantages over other PPE items include:
- Increased comfort: Thanks to the space left between the shield and the wearer’s face, they retain less facial heat, don’t cause dermal irritation, and feel less claustrophobic.
- Doesn’t impede work: Unlike other PPE that covers the nose and mouth, a face shield doesn’t impede regular, comfortable speaking or breathing.
- Easy to Clean: Face shields are designed to be easily put on and taken off, which helps prevent the spread of germs and makes them easier to disinfect between patients.
ADDITIONAL SAFETY PRECAUTIONS
Face shields are especially useful in protecting the wearer from splashes and spatters of body fluid. However, they don’t form an airtight seal against the wearer’s face. This means that infectious airborne particles and aerosols may still be inhaled. Thankfully, face shields can easily be used in conjunction with other PPEs like N95 masks and respirators for a second layer of protection. Between patients, a face shield can be easily sterilized with hospital-grade disinfectants.
Face shields may become a permanent addition to your dentist’s regular infection control processes. While they may look a little unusual at first, this extra layer of protection plays a key role in keeping you and your dentist healthy.
ABOUT THE PRACTICE
At Breckinridge Dental & Orthodontics in Richardson, TX, nothing is more important than the safety of our patients and their families. We typically demonstrate this commitment with a variety of comfortable and efficient treatments for smiles of all ages. In these unusual times however, we continue to put the best interests of our patients first by following the recommendations of the American Dental Association and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. If you’d like to know more about what we’re doing to keep our patients, staff, and community safe, we would be happy to answer your questions via our website or at (972) 248-9119.