It’s something most people would not think about unless they have some type of medical training. Those with dental training know all about infection control measures that are used to protect patient’s health, but in today’s fast-paced world some of these procedures are skipped to save time.
There are a number of sources that may harbour bacteria or viruses that can be transferred to the patient, you. One major source of contamination that I’ve noted is the dental light handle. How many times has your dentist adjusted the overhead light and then went back to work in your mouth? I’ve experienced this; I cringed, squinted my eyes, and moaned my displeasure only to have the dentist say, “Oh, need more freezing?” But seriously, I don’t think I will be going back there any time soon.
There are many possible germ-laden sources and some others that come to mind are the X-ray machine, chair switches, and reusable holding containers.
I have seen only one dentist office that used disposable, plastic covers on their lights (sigh of relief), which are changed for each patient. So I am wondering just how many dentists go the extra expense to protect their patients. Hand washing and re-gloving is generally considered routine and less expensive, as would cleaning and disinfecting the items in question, but it is time-consuming and may often be skipped.
So, the next time you are visiting the dentist office please note if your dentist is practicing good infection control measures. Be an investigator – it is for the sake of your own health.