Seeing a Dentist During the Pandemic? Negative Air Pressure Rooms Make It Safe
June 14, 2020
People of all ages need access to dental care for a healthy smile, and that remains the same during the COVID-19 pandemic. But rest assured that, with guidelines from the CDC, ADA, and OSHA, dentists are making your health and safety a top priority! One recommendation you may not be familiar with is negative air pressure rooms. Learn about the benefits of negative air pressure below and the many other ways a dentist in East Islip is preventing the spread of COVID-19.
What Is Negative Air Pressure and How Does It Keep You Safe?
We know that COVID-19 is primarily spread through respiratory droplets in the air that are produced when someone speaks, coughs, or sneezes. Because the nature of dental treatment involves a high risk of these droplets being produced, air filtration is especially important.
Negative air pressure is a particularly effective way to filter the air. It works by drawing the air out of an operatory room and capturing airborne bacteria and viruses, including COVID-19, before pumping fresh air back into the room. This can prevent a patient who may have COVID-19 from spreading it to others.
In fact, studies have found that directing airflow through a negative pressure room is a preferred way to protect both healthcare workers and patients. In addition to being useful in dental offices, some hospitals use negative air pressure rooms to treat patients with known respiratory infections such as flu, tuberculosis, or COVID-19.
Additional Safety Protocols In the Dental Office
Used in conjunction with negative air pressure rooms, here are some other safety protocols dentists are using to keep you safe during the pandemic:
- Advanced training for every staff member to ensure that they have the most up-to-date information about infection control.
- Social distancing measures, including virtual waiting rooms and seeing fewer patients at one time in the office.
- Asking patients to swish with an anti-microbial, pre-procedural rinse (Colgate Peroxyl) for 60 seconds.
- Taking each patient’s temperature prior to treatment and asking questions about their recent physical health and activities. This is done for staff members in the mornings as well.
- Continued adherence to the same strict sanitation and sterilization procedures that have always been used.
- Asking patients to wash their hands or use sanitizer when they arrive.
- Additional personal protective equipment (PPE) for staff such as double masks as well as requiring patients to wear a face mask when they’re not being treated.
Negative air pressure rooms are a great way to dramatically reduce your risk of infection from COVID-19. And, as you can see, they’re just one of the many ways dentists are keeping you safe!
About the Author
Dr. Jessica Henner is a family dentist and graduate of the Stony Brook University School of Dental Medicine. With a primary focus on health and safety, she and her colleagues at East Islip Dental Care have put both Jade air purifiers and HEPA air filters throughout their office. If you’re looking for a safe dentist in East Islip during the pandemic or have any questions, she can be reached via her website.
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