Infection Control Part I: Keeping You Safe in the Dental Office

phoenix_dental_healthInfection control is a topic that every patient depends on and every dentist practices. In Dr. Carol Ford’s Phoenix dental office, there are protections you will see and those you won’t see. Both are important not only to your health, but to the health of everyone who comes through a dental office during the day—deliveries, mail, employees, patients, even people who are lost and looking for directions. Each of these people come in contact with other people, from their families to people in shared public spaces—so infection control is vital to Dr. Ford.

There are two major kinds of infection control in an office—barrier control and sterilization. These are called universal precautions and are established by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the American Dental Association.

You are familiar with the barrier controls. You’ve seen the facemasks in dental offices—but if you look around, you will see many more protective devices on Dr. Ford and staff members. Personal protection includes plastic protective glasses, gloves, and protective clothing, from masks to lab coats. You’ll be given a clean bib to protect your clothing as well.

Look around at the equipment, and you’ll see barrier controls there, too. Head pillows are covered and changed between patients. Plastic covers treatment room keyboards and the handles of lights. “Everything that is touched a lot is changed a lot—between each patient,” says Dr. Ford. That includes masks and gloves.  Between each patient, gloves are removed and thrown out, hands are washed thoroughly, and new gloves are put on.

“But what you don’t see or think about is even more important,” Dr. Ford says. “There are many ways infection is controlled that we monitor so you don’t have to worry.”

Water from sinks is protected from backflow. Backflow is the mixing of water from a variety of sources (including contaminated sources such as bathrooms). The cause of backflow varies—anything from a fire hydrant in use to simple high usage that caused the water pressure to fluctuate. When the water pressure drops, pipes can act like siphons and pull water from one source into another. All the drains and  sinks in Dr. Ford’s office have backflow protection devices to assure that every sink has clean, drinkable water. The water is checked frequently to meet strict health and safety standards.

Much of infection control happens without your knowing it, but it happens. You can feel safe that when you visit Dr. Ford’s office, it’s a clean, safe place to keep your smile healthy and white.

Next: Part  II—How instruments are kept clean and questions to ask.



  1. […] to providing excellent dental services, and Dr. Carol Ford takes steps in both barrier control—the protections you see–and sterilization control, which you won’t see, in her Phoenix office. “Every step we […]

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