The Case of PPE and PSP (Personal Safety Protocol)

Everybody already knows what PPE is don’t they? It’s Personal Protective Equipment in case you are not aware. But today I would like to talk about my own philosophy on PSP- Personal Safety Protocol. Having been a dentist for over 30 years, I am acutely aware of bacteria and viruses in our environment. My own protocol has been like this for many years now. Every morning that I come to the office I will enter the office wearing sweats and a T shirt. In the office I will shower and change into what you see me wearing- pants and a dress shirt. During the course of the day I will wash my hands about 50 times, which leads to dry skin, which then I take care of with lots of Meyer’s clean day lotion- I just love the stuff!

There are a few changes that have been instituted for your own protection when you come to our office. First, we want to make sure you can be nearly ‘contactless’ upon entering the building. The front doors have a button to activate and open them- these are at the handicapped level. Just today, I called the management and asked them to put a foot button at each door as well because I have noticed people actually kicking the button that is at knee level, and the buttons have already been damaged because of that. It will add to our costs, but it also adds to your safety as well. Then, once in the building, you do have to push the elevator buttons to get upstairs- I recommend you use a knuckle to do this, not the fingertip. Knuckles are rarely used to rub eyes and face so I believe this should be safer for you. And when you come to our office, the door is wide open so it is contactless. In addition, we removed the cloth furniture from our waiting room and only have our patients sit in the leather chairs which are disinfected after each visit. We do ask that ONLY the patient or the patient with a parent come into the office. We no longer can have multiple visitors. Another thing that we are doing is we have you wash your hands before and after the appointment and use a pre-procedural rinse that kills bacteria and viruses for the time you are here. It’s a wonderful technique that I believe adds more protection and safety for your visit. And as always, ALL of our operatory chairs are disinfected after every patient and a new plastic disposable head cover is used on the headrest.

At the end of the day, our cleaning crew disinfects our floors. Also, we previously fogged the office every month, but now do this procedure every two weeks. Sure, it’s a bit of a pain, but I sleep well knowing that we do everything we can to protect you. And, just to add more, we are waiting on our UVC light which should be here any day. This will be used to further disinfect masks between patients which is required since our supply chain for masks is still unstable. Once again, we are doing all we can to protect you and your family when you enter our office.

And now back to my day- when I finish here, I change back into my sweat pants and T shirt, drive home after using a wipe to touch the elevator buttons, and leave my shoes in the garage or foyer area. Then I wash my hands and head up to shower and toss the sweats and T shirt into the laundry basket. I have done all of this for many years to protect myself and my family, but since so many of our patients are asking what I do personally, I figured I might as well go through the whole thing.

I am sure some of you will tell me this is a bit too much, a bit of ‘overkill’ as they say- pun intended here folks- ‘overkill’ of the bacteria and viruses. Get it? Good. I, however, feel that I want my office to be as safe as possible for my team and our family of patients who trust me with their health every day. By being perhaps a bit OCD about personal safety and keeping our office as safe as possible, this means there is one less thing you need to worry about during your day. Rest assured that when you enter my office that ALL of us are acutely aware of the struggles and stresses you are all going through and we want to make your visit with us safe and comfortable. Just this week I have had dozens of patients tell me they appreciate all that we are doing and how obvious it is that we are doing so much (Does this mean they think I really am OCD? Hmm…). I may be a little OCD, but at least I admit to being so and I’m darn proud of it these days. So with that I wish you all a safe transition through these difficult times and may you stay healthy and happy. All the best.