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Avoiding Cross Contamination At The Dentist

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When you go to the dentist, you expect that the dentist along with their assistants are practicing proper personal hygiene as well as the correct office cleanliness measures. Getting sick as a result of cross contamination from germs or other microbes while at the dentist is not uncommon. Before you schedule your next appointment, keep the following things in mind so you can help protect yourself from getting sick.

Check Gloves

Your dentist should always use disposable gloves when treating your mouth. These gloves should be taken from a box and not removed from a counter to keep the gloves from picking up germs from various surfaces. The dentist should use a new pair of gloves every time they treat new patients and dispose of old gloves in a secured container. If they touch anything other than the sterile instruments with their gloves or leave the room even for a brief moment, a new pair of gloves should be used. 

Look Around The Office

A good indicator as to whether or not you're receiving treatment in a clean dental office is by taking a look around. Are the floors carpeted or linoleum? Carpet cannot be treated with sterilizing cleaners, but hardwood or linoleum floors can. Do you see sinks with antibacterial soap? All dental offices should have sinks at every station so your dentist can wash their hands thoroughly before touching your mouth. Make sure the office is clean and tidy and that you don't see a lot of stray tools or x-rays lying around. A clean office shows patients that the dentist is serious about cleanliness and hygiene.

Make Sure Instruments Are Sterilized

When you go to the dentist for treatment, the tools and instruments used should be removed from a sealed bag. This indicates that the instruments have been properly sterilized and that your dentist is using new ones to treat each patient individually. If the tools are sitting on a table alone without being protected in a bag, do not be afraid to ask your dentist if they can use newly sterilized tools from a sealed container. Once the tools are removed, they should be placed on a sterile tray and not on a counter top or other surface. Always ask questions if you ever feel uncomfortable or uncertain about the proper sterilization and hygiene procedures at your dentist's office. These questions can help prevent you from getting sick and in some cases, may even save your life.