If you’ve ever been to the dental office, you’ve most likely noticed that all employees are wearing some type of mask and other types of protective equipment. In most cases, you have also probably been asked to wear protective eyewear during your appointment. So, what is the purpose of all of this equipment?
What is PPE?
PPE stands for personal protective equipment and is primarily used to protect both the patient and employees from any possible disease transmission. Many viruses and bacteria can be transferred through airborne particles, blood, and skin to skin contact. To avoid this, PPE helps provide an external layer of protection for the skin and any mucous membranes that may be exposed during the clinical process. Reducing the risk of infection is of utmost importance in the clinic, and so, protective equipment is required universally when treating a patient.
Common PPE used in the office:
- Protective clothing (lab coats, long sleeved scrubs, and etc.)
- Surgical Masks
- Protective Eyewear
Some rules to follow to create a safe work environment:
- Absolutely, NO reusing of gloves for different patients
- Torn gloves should be thrown away and replaced with a new pair
- Gloves should be kept away from faces at all times
- Masks and long sleeves must be worn by all employees
- Hands must be cleaned after removing PPE
- PPE should be removed when leaving work areas and replaced when coming back
PPE during Covid-19
Due to the pandemic, many PPE regulations have been altered to account for the increased risk of infection that is associated with the Covid-19 virus. The demand for PPE has drastically increased, along with the need for more protective PPE in clinical settings. N95, N99, or N100 respirators are strongly recommended, along with surgical masks underneath. Extra preventative measures, such as the addition of air purifiers, have also been implemented to protect patients and employees from the virus.
Written by: Julia Noguchi