Last month I had a dental cleaning and Teeth in a Day consultation. I was concerned about the hygiene protocol for the dental office and wondered how they would handle it. When I confirmed the appointment, the receptionist told me to wait in the car when I arrived. They would text me when it’s time to come into the office. I was surprised, though, when I sat in the dental chair, that the hygienist handed me a cup with a solution of hydrogen peroxide to rinse out my mouth before treatment. She explained that it is a germ-killing precaution. I thought that this is a simple measure, but does it really work? Thanks. Natasha from Dallas
It is good to know that a medical or dental practice takes precautions to minimize exposure to the coronavirus. Your hygienist did the right thing before your dental cleaning appointment and Teeth in a Day consultation. Peroxide is an effective anti-microbial rinse.
Anti-Microbial Rinse for Dental Visits
Anti-microbial rinse kills oral micro-organisms. Dental offices use a higher concentration of peroxide than what you can buy over the counter. It quickly kills germs. The American Dental Association recommends at least 1.5% peroxide concentration, but most dental offices use an even higher concentration. Swishing it around in your mouth kills bacteria and viruses.
Dental hygiene schools teach hygienists to use an anti-microbial rinse before each appointment, but many dental practices didn’t implement it. Due to Covid-19, many states now require dental offices to use the rinse.
What About Aerosols?
Aerosols, or fine particles, are generated during many dental procedures, including cleaning. Dental cleaning equipment, including an ultrasonic scaler, releases aerosols in the air that can be suspended for several hours and circulate throughout the office. Anyone in the office can inhale aerosols.
But it is possible to control infectious aerosols released during dental procedures.
- High-volume suction equipment. While your dentist provides treatment, a dental assistant can hold a high-volume suction hose near your mouth and face to reduce aerosols by about 95%. But during a dental cleaning, a dental assistant is not present with the hygienist, so this method is not practical.
- Aerosol capture device. The device has a wide opening of a least one foot. The opening is positioned near your mouth to vacuum away aerosols into a filtered box.
If you decide that you want Teeth in a Day treatment to stabilize your denture, ask your dentist beforehand about the safety protocol during Covid-19. He or your oral surgeon will explain what they do to create a sanitary environment while placing your dental implants.
Gilberto Tostado, DDS, of San Antonio, TX, sponsors this post.