We spoke with Dr. John Molinari, PhD, The Dental Advisor’s educator and consultant in all things infection control. As he always has, he is giving excellent tips for dental professionals. Here are his recommendations:
Be aware that recommendations state by state and hour by hour are being updated. Follow the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for the latest updates.
Stop seeing patients in your office for a minimum of two weeks, as recommended by many states.
If you must see a patient on an emergency basis:
- Follow the rules of Standard Precautions. Assume everyone is infectious. Wash your hands for at least 20 seconds. Wear protective equipment. Properly sterilize all instruments and disinfect all surfaces.
- Do not attempt to make or reuse single-use disposable infection control items such as wipes, hand sanitizer, gloves, or masks.
- Any mask is better than no mask, but N95 is the gold standard. Level 3 masks should be used at this time if N95s are not available. Unfortunately for dentistry, it is more likely we will not be able to acquire them since there is so much misuse and hoarding.
- Social distancing is recommended to protect any vulnerable populations such as the immunocompromised and those over the age of 65.
- Even if you aren’t sick, you could be spreading the virus unknowingly. This means stay home. Stop the spread.
Be well. Best wishes to all.
Dr. Molinari is director of infection control for The Dental Advisor. Previously, he was professor and chair of the Department of Biomedical Sciences at the University of Detroit Mercy School of Dentistry. He has published more than articles, chapters, and abstracts in microbiology and immunology. He can be reached at email@example.com.