CHI Dental Department Uses High Tech Innovations to Keep Patients Safe

From left to right, Dr. Sheri Watson-Hamilton and Dental Assistant, Hilda Moreta, perform a routine care procedure using a rubber dam over the patient’s mouth.

Community Health of South Florida, Inc. (CHI) has gone above and beyond most dental practices and put in place high-tech innovative devices and strategies to combat COVID-19. These highly effective safety measures open the door for dental patients to safely return to dental care.

“Our first job is to be sure that our patients are safe,” said Dr. Sheri Watson-Hamilton, Director of Oral Health Services at CHI. “We are infection control experts and we are ready to provide a safe dental visit to all of our patients.”

Now, due to COVID-19, there are additional safety precautions in place, many of them recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the American Dental Association. 

The dentists and hygienists wear personal protective equipment (PPE) that they change between patients. This is a ritual that requires them to take off booties, gowns, goggles, gloves and surgical masks and replace them with clean ones.

Once patients go into their appointments, they will be asked to wash their mouths with a 

pre-procedural rinse before treatment to reduce any bacteria in the saliva.

“This is an extra 30-second procedure that will contribute to a productive, safe work environment,” said Dr. Watson-Hamilton. 

In addition, dentists at CHI use rubber dams over a patient’s mouth for all procedures to limit the spray of germs from the mouth.

“This protective sheet has a hole that we position over a tooth and it allows us to isolate the treatment area,” explained Dr. Watson-Hamilton. “It helps us to stop oral bacteria from potentially contaminating the area.”

CHI’s Dental Services also utilize three high-volume suction procedures that create a dry and clean environment, improving the quality of its operatories. 

“We are using what’s called an extraoral dental suction system,” said Dr. Watson-Hamilton. She explains it’s a machine used outside of the mouth. “We use it to effectively suction aerosols or germs in the air that might contaminate the dental room.” 

CHI added another precaution that goes beyond what most other practices are doing and introduced “cold-fogging” in all CHI dental offices.

“Fogging is a technique we are using where we spray a safe-to-breathe disinfectant on all interior surfaces and providers in the cleaning process to ensure germs and viruses are eliminated,” said Dr. Watson-Hamilton. “We do this as soon as we are done with every appointment.” 


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