Patient Safeguards in our Dental Clinic

Spring 2023

As a team, we are reminded that caring for patients through the pandemic has been our privilege and responsibility, operating under extraordinary conditions. Recently, our regulatory body (Canadian Dental Association) stated that due to the collective diligence as a profession, there hasn’t been any documented cases of COVID-19 transmission between a patient and an oral health care provider in Canada to date.

What makes West Calgary Dental Group different and what are patients and staff looking for that we provide?

75 years ago, when the office was established, the dentists knew that individual rooms with walls separating patients would be of benefit not only for privacy but certainly for infection prevention control.

We have observed the key considerations (guidelines) for Dental Practices moving through the COVID-19 pandemic. The dental, hygiene and assisting Colleges instituted the Guidelines, under the direction of Alberta Health, to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. The Guidelines provided interim consideration and much of the patient and clinical content was informed by the ADAC Standards of Practice

Additional content supported the Chief Medical Officer of Health Order for businesses and entities which included general guidance. It is recognized that the pandemic is not over and segments of the public remain vulnerable (e.g. children under the age of 12 years, persons with specific underlying health conditions and unvaccinated individuals). As oral health providers, we remain diligent in applying infection prevention and control practices based on the premise that everyone is potentially infective (as had been the case prior to the pandemic).

Oral healthcare workers consistently use professional judgment to make informed decisions about the care they provide based on their specific practice seƫting and other factors including community risk, facility characteristics, and patient demographics.

As such, our team is reminded to maintain new procedures and promote the continued adoption of improved standards (e.g. patient pre-screening; limiting people in the waiting area; daily screening of providers and staff members; enhanced cleaning and disinfection of non-clinical areas; physical distancing) and habits (e.g. enhanced hand hygiene; staying home when not feeling well) that resulted from the guidelines and may be considered best practice going forward.

One of the key principles of routine practices/standard precautions is the performance of a point-of-care risk assessment of infectious agents since additional precautions above and beyond routine practices/standard precautions that may be necessary.

We request patients who are symptomatic for respiratory disease to reschedule their visit to a healthier date.

While it is a matter of individual privacy and decision-making, our team respects vaccination. We look to each other and our broader community to follow the evolution of public health guidelines.

We are concerned about your medical history; we keep it confidential and seek to understand it well. There are many things we do to plan a reduced-stress visit and/or help with medical needs.

This may include scheduling early morning appointments, prescribing anxiety-reducing medications, and/or communicating directly with your physician and/or pharmacist.

All staff in direct patient contact continue to wear a surgical/procedural mask, gloves and scrubs in the treatment-side of the clinic. N95 standardization is not uniformly applied in AHS, hospital, medical, laboratory clinics to date, and is not standard in our current clinic configuration.

However, PPE that may be additionally applied includes N95 masks (when available and on patientrequest), face-shields/goggles, clinical gowns, pre-procedural mouth rinses for surgical services, the limited use of high-speed handpieces; and the use of high-volume evacuation to control aerosols at the source of production.

The patient experience is enhanced by glass doors, auto-operating HVAC and HEPA filtering systems. Professional cleaners disinfect patient contact surfaces and/or arrival areas on a scheduled/nightly basis. Contactless payment options are also available.

We strive to keep informed of on-going and new public health measures as routine practice. Alberta dentists, registered dental assistants and registered dental hygienists are each governed by their own independent colleges, and as a team we track continuing developments and reference local standards in AHS and hospital protocols, and find consensus in the above strategy for infection control.

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Top 10 Tips for Maintaining Ideal Oral Health

  1. Maintain regular brushing habits of 2-3 times per day. Use a soft or extra soft toothbrush, and small gentle back-and-forth or circular strokes.
  2. Work on perfecting that daily flossing habit. Remember to wrap the floss flush around the tooth and take it gently below the gumline, following the tooth's natural contours. Don't forget to floss under fixed bridges and orthodontic wires.
  3. If you have larger gaps between your teeth, consider using an interproximal brush, like a Proxy Brush or Go-Betweens to clean those areas. If it doesn't fit easily or gently through the space, it doesn't go there.
  4. Don't discount easy rinsing. Rinsing with water several times a day helps remove and flush out loose plaque and food debris.
  5. It's ok to chew gum! Chewing gum stimulates saliva production and this can help flush plaque and bacteria. Just make sure that that gum is SUGAR FREE. Ingredients like Xylitol in your gum can also help to remineralize enamel!
  6. If you have a lot of crowns, bridges, or fixed orthodontic hardware, consider using a WaterPik to flush out hard to reach areas.
  7. If you have removable appliances, like a complete denture, partial denture, retainers, or Invisalign, make sure to remove them 1-2 times a day to clean them. Brush them with a toothbrush, or denture brush, (NO TOOTHPASTE) and soak them in Polident (or similar) for the time recommended on the package. Let those gums breath without their appliances for 30 minutes or more. Don't forget to clean your nighttime appliances, like nightguards, daily as well.
  8. HEALTHY SNACKS. We are all deserve a treat now and then but remember to choose healthy alternatives when you can. Try to stay away from sugary foods and starches, and go for tooth smart foods, like apples, cheese, and raw veggies. Avoid sipping for long periods of time on those sugary or highly acidic drinks.
  9. Clean that tongue. The tongue has many grooves where bacteria can hide. Use a tongue scraper or toothbrush to gently clean the top of your tongue.
  10. Listen to your gums and teeth. Healthy gums will be a nice pink colour. They won't bleed when you floss them correctly if you've been keeping up with your hygiene. But if you come across areas that are fiery red, tender and bleeding easily, your body is telling you to pay more attention to those areas. Review your brushing and flossing techniques, and ensure you are doing them daily. If those teeth feel furry, it's time to brush. But always remember to be gentle with your teeth and gums, being aggressive and overdoing it could be as problematic as not being diligent enough.

Be sure to maintain your regular dental hygiene visits. Your dental professional will assess your overall oral health, recommend necessary treatment, and provide guidance to help you develop good home care habits that will ensure you have a happy and healthy smile throughout your whole life!

Christine, RDH

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Our Address

1107-37th St. SW
Calgary, AB
T3C 1S5


Office Hours
Monday - 7:30AM – 16:00PM
Tuesday - 7:30AM – 17:00PM
Wednesday - 7:30AM – 18:00PM
Thursday - 7:30AM – 18:00PM
Friday - 7:30AM – 14:30PM
Saturday - Closed
Sunday - Closed

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