No compromise on patient safety at McIntosh Dental.
Over the past few weeks we have talked about infection control measures in our clinic, which we have enhanced to the highest degree possible. The fact that we have safely treated over 180 patients who required emergency dental care during Alert Levels 4 and 3 is a testament to the success of our stringent procedures.
Although New Zealand is now entering Alert Level 2, that doesn’t mean we will relax our standards. A COVID vaccine might not be available for a year or more, and we want to continue to protect our patients and staff as much as possible until that time. So although we – like so many businesses – have been financially impacted by the crisis, to us that’s no excuse to compromise on patient safety.
One issue that continues to be raised is the topic of aerosols. Many routine dental treatments use instruments which produce an aerosol or spray. Aerosols are airborne particles not visible to the naked eye, and have the potential to carry droplets of water, saliva, blood, micro organisms and potentially infectious materials. They can remain in the air for some time (researchers estimate up to three hours) and can also be inhaled. Bacteria and viruses ranging from the common cold through to coronavirus can be transmitted through aerosols. This means that as dentists we need to be extra vigilant in our infection control measures.
The standard infection control precautions include masks, eye protection, gloves, hand hygiene and sanitisation of all surfaces and touch points. However, we have decided to take additional steps towards controlling aerosols and have put another two important measures in place:
1. HEPA Air Purifiers have been installed in each dental surgery, as well as our reception area and at the rear of our building. HEPA stands for high-efficiency particulate air. As the name suggests, HEPA air purifiers purify the air inside our clinic by filtering and destroying contaminants, helping to remove bacteria and viruses in the air. They also have an air ionisation function.
2. Laminar Airflow units have been installed in each dental surgery. These units create negative air pressure, effectively removing any aerosols produced during dental treatment from air in the surgery rooms. Laminar is used in hospital operating theatres to provide clean, sterile working conditions during operations.
We want all of our patients – even those who are classed as being at high-risk of COVID-19 – to feel completely confident when coming to McIntosh Dental. We are proactively implementing the highest standard of protection possible so we can provide the highest standard of dental care.