Written by Brittany German
- Dental workers have the most dangerous job
- Treating every patient like they're CoV+ makes everyone safer
- You will attract and retain patients and staff
The most dangerous job in North America is the dental worker and that is before the added risks of Covid-19.
There are many other jobs that sound much more dangerous. However, nuclear equipment technician and chemical plant operator rank lower than dentists and dental assistants on the danger scale - not to mention the hundreds of other jobs that seem very dangerous, but still don't outrank the risk for dental workers.
During a pandemic, dental workers which includes dentists, dental hygienists, and dental lab technicians, are at an even higher risk based on their contact with others, physical proximity, and exposure to diseases.
Dentists are constantly performing aerosol generating procedures (AGPs) that fill the air with hazardous bio-aerosols. These aerosols can linger in the air for hours, making dental workers the highest risk for respiratory illnesses.
It's all entirely preventable.
If you treat every patient like they're Covid positive (CoV+), you lower the risk of transmission, create the safest environment, reassure patients and staff, and as a result, treat more patients.
How to Treat Every Patient as CoV+
In Dentistry Uncensored, Dr. Fotinos says, "Every patient that sits in the chair could potentially be infectious, and so we have to do the same thing from patient to patient."
The Layering Strategy
Implement a process to thoroughly screen your patients, make sure you're cleaning surfaces and filtering the air. And don't forget your PPE for the whole team: gloves, gowns, eyewear, and masks. You can find dentist specific CDC guidelines which "are intended to apply to all patients, not just those with suspected or confirmed SARS-CoV-2 infection."
Creating the Safest Environment
By following health and safety guidelines and layering safety protocols to treat all patients like they're CoV+, you will effectively be creating the safest environment where it is unlikely that any harmful contaminants will remain in the air.
With proper air filtration using a True HEPA filter you'll see the following capture efficiency rates:
Dr. Fotinos notes that he doesn't see us moving away from these protocols come the end of a pandemic, so you'll also be creating safer procedures for the future.
With these protocols in place and a powerful air purifier, there is a much lower chance of airborne diseases and therefore lower rates of Covid - and all other airborne diseases - in dental offices.
Patient and Staff Reassurance
Creating the safest environment isn't just about safety, it's also about the feeling of security that comes with it. Both patients and staff will benefit from an environment where they know they are safe and in which they feel comfortable.
By explaining to your patients how you're working to keep them safe, they will not feel intimidated by all of the new protocols from the pandemic, rather they will also feel taken care of. A dental offices efforts to ensure safety will make patients feel like you're investing in their health and safety which will improve the dentist-patient relationship.
This patient reassurance is crucial if you want to see them returning to your office and raving about their experience to others.
It is getting more competitive to hire great hygienists and dental support staff. Now more than ever, hygienists are evaluating potential employers based on the safety of the workplace. There is no denying that a great team is the backbone of any high-performing dental office.
Attract and Impress Your Patients
Jaspr customers use the Jaspr as a visual prompt to discuss their health and safety protocols during new patient visits. For new or returning patients who haven't yet had the opportunity to see the Jaspr air purifier at work, this is your chance to reach out with an email or a phone call. Explain to your patients how you have their safety in mind and that you'd be happy to give them a tour and an explanation of your layering strategies. Patients at dental offices with an air purifier are extremely appreciative of the investment their dentist has made to keep them and their families safe.
Dr. Barakat from Villanova Dental Studio says when he opens his next dental office, even if the pandemic is behind us, "it's not going to stop me from buying these. I'll still buy them because now this is a new normal."
By following suit, your office becomes a trailblazer for other dental offices and even other industries. You gain your competitive edge.
What Could Go Wrong if You don't Treat Every Patient like They're CoV+?
What if you don't do any of this? You raise the chances of an infectious patient coming in and transmitting an airborne disease to you, your staff and the other patients visiting your dental office. What is the cost of your business being featured in the local news as the source of an infectious outbreak?
What's the Overall Outcome?
Treat every patient like they're CoV+. In addition to keeping your staff and patients safe, you're helping mitigate the Covid-19 virus and other airborne diseases, you're setting an example for other offices and businesses to do the same, and as the leading authority in health and safety right now, you remain on top.