It has never been more critical to keep staff and patients safe at dental clinics. With airborne germs quickly spreading in enclosed spaces, dental offices can take a number of safety measures to protect everyone.
Placing plexiglass shields in various key areas is just the start. By stopping any airborne particles from spreading, your staff will be protected and can continue to care for patients safely. Coughs, sneezes, and other infectious droplets won’t get far when sneeze guards are there to stop them. This article will cover:
- What sneeze guards are and how they work.
- The importance of health and safety in dental clinics.
- The best places to install plexiglass barriers in your dental office.
- Additional health and safety measures dental clinics can take to stay germ and infection-free.
What Are Sneeze Guards?
If you aren’t familiar with sneeze guards already, they are plexiglass barriers meant to stop the spread of airborne particles. The concept is simple, but the results are truly life-saving. The plexiglass shields block any viruses, germs, or bacteria spread through the air – whether from coughs, sneezes, or simply breathing.
Droplets that come out of your mouth or nose naturally spread through the air. If you are sick or perhaps carrying a virus, these droplets could infect other people. With transparent barriers in place, airborne particles are stopped in their tracks, leading to fewer infections.
Importance of Health and Safety in Dental Clinics
The health and safety of patients are paramount in dental clinics. Because of the nature of dental procedures (you can’t wear a mask during teeth cleaning!), staff have to take extra precautions to keep themselves and their patients safe.
There are many CDC recommendations for infection prevention and control that dental offices should take into consideration. With guidelines and advice available, clinics should be able to keep everyone safe by setting protocol standards and committing to good health and safety practices.
Where to Place Plexiglass Barriers in Dental Offices
One easy way that dental clinics can promote health and safety is by installing sneeze guards in their space. High-traffic areas benefit from transparent shields, especially in spots where people converse regularly. Airborne droplets spread faster when patients and staff are talking to each other.
If spaces like waiting areas or offices need more flexibility in their shields, the moveable plexiglass barriers are a great safety solution. They allow staff to move the shields as required, whether they stand on the floor or on a desktop. Listed below are a few of the vital areas for sneeze guard placement in dental offices.
A reception desk is a place where patients check in and chat with dental office staff. Installing a plexiglass barrier with a pass-through window is essential for reception desks to remain safe and functioning. Your dental clinic staff won’t have to worry about their health while getting information from patients when there’s a sneeze guard in place. With the pass-through window, receptionists can pass through insurance cards, health forms, and other items without compromising their health or the patients’ health.
Another area of high traffic in dental offices is always the waiting area. Patients are usually sitting there anywhere from five minutes to an hour, so the safety of this space is paramount. Placing plexiglass shields in between seating groups is an easy way to ensure airborne germs aren’t spread. When patients see them, they will feel safer, too.
Many dental clinics also have offices where their staff work, often speaking on the phone or needing to converse with each other. It is easy to place moveable sneeze guards on top of desks or use a cubicle panel extender if you already have cubicle walls in place. Your staff will appreciate the added safety and feel good about coming to work every day, knowing that their health is valued.
If your dental office has public restrooms, it’s easy to place sneeze guards between the sinks. Germs can spread quickly through the air, especially in smaller, enclosed spaces like restrooms. Stop them in their tracks with transparent shields.
While it would be hard to place a plexiglass shield between a patient and the hygenist during teeth cleaning, it can actually be done in operating rooms. Custom sneeze guards are perfect for this situation. They can be created to fit over the headrest, creating a box to protect staff hovering above the patient’s mouth. If your dental clinic also does surgeries, custom shields for operating rooms are a must.
Other Safety Measures at Dental Clinics
Aside from installing sneeze guards, there are various other safety measures that dental clinics can take. Plexiglass barriers should always be cleaned properly and regularly, as should all surfaces in your dental office. Staff and patients can wear personal protective equipment (PPE) when necessary. Taking simple measures can go a long way for everyone’s health and safety in the dental clinic.
Listed below are a few more ideas – besides installing sneeze guards – that dental offices should consider when thinking about their health and safety protocols:
- Screen patients upon entering with a health questionnaire and temperature checks.
- Recommend face masks in all public areas.
- Encourage social distancing in waiting rooms.
- Provide PPE equipment to dental staff, including gloves, face masks, and face shields.
- Offer hand sanitizer and ask patients to wash their hands before their appointment begins.
- Commit to vigorous handwashing procedures by hygienists and dentists.
- Clean equipment and surfaces regularly throughout the clinic.
- Ensure all patient equipment and tools are properly sanitized.
- Encourage staff to stay home when they aren’t feeling well.
Promoting Safety With Plexiglass Shields
It’s no secret that healthcare workers operate with a greater health risk than others. Keeping your dentists and hygienists safe, not to mention your patients, is essential. It’s made more accessible by installing sneeze guards at your dental office. There’s no better way to stop the spread of airborne germs than with sturdy plexiglass barriers in your space.