In a word, and safely put, “Yes”!
The College of Dental Surgeons of BC, Health Canada and the Public Health Agency of Canada have provided us with significant guidance, and we have deployed significant resource to deliver a rigorous and robust safety plan.
Did you know that Care Dental in Kelowna was the first dentist in BC to renovate and meet the Canadian Standards Agency Health Care Facilities Airborne Infection Isolation Room HVAC Guide?
Yes! During the early days of the pandemic and provincial state of emergency, Care Dental Kelowna was listed as an Urgent and Emergent Care Center.
Did you know that both Kelowna General Hospital and Penticton General Hospital have Care Dental in Kelowna listed as their principal referral practice at their respective Emergency Room Central Triage Desk? That’s right! If you present at the hospital emergency room with a dental emergency, they give you our number and send you to us!
Big is Beautiful! And, as a large, multi-clinician practice we are always accepting new patients and look forward to seeing you.
Although we accept referrals from other providers, a referral is not required for any of our services.
Current guidance from both Public Health Authorities and the College of Dental Surgeons of BC defines that patients require a face covering or mask to attend the practice. This mask or face-covering must be worn at all times, with exception of when dental Care is being directly provided. Your clinical team however will a level 3 surgical mask or N95 type respirator during all interactions with you.
Our #Spa-Inspired Welcome Lounge is always suitable for physical distancing and the air you breathe is protected in all areas of the practice by our CSA compliant Airborne Infection Isolation Room system.
This point has been a primary concern at Care Dental from the very moment the pandemic began, and we have considered it in all of our planning and preparedness throughout.
Its OK and natural to be nervous. Being nervous is a manifestation of the fear emotion, and this emotion is built into how humans are wired, as a way to keep us free from injury, harm or loss. The “unknown” often triggers a fear response.
What we do know however is infection control. We consider all the ways that a “bug” can spread, airborne, droplet or contact and take rigorous steps to make sure that you don’t take a trip to the dentist home with you.
Did you know that Care Dental isn’t just following the guidance, but that we are part of the research that will contribute to the guidance of tomorrow? As a member of UBC’s Airborne Disease Transmission Research Network Care Dental, along with Interior Health, UBC School of Engineering, UBC Faculty of Medicine, UBC Health Sciences and others, are looking for the answers to the questions that will help us navigate not just this, but future pandemics as well.
Negative pressure is created when more air is exhausted out of, than is drawn into an enclosed space. This creates active air movement, which contains and removes aerosolized particles. Kind of like how we create a breeze when we crack a few windows in the house to “air it out”. The term “negative pressure” is a misnomer however, as engineers utilise both positive and negative pressure within each area to create containment zones or “bubbles”. Negative Pressure Airborne Infection Isolation Rooms (AIIR) are used by advanced hospitals to contain and remove airborne pathogens within a specific area. In Canada, the agency that provides guidance to the engineers and architects that design these rooms, and the hospitals themselves is the CSA, specifically under specification CSA-Z8000-18.
In April 2020, Care Dental made significant investment and renovated facilities, retaining the same engineers that are involved with hospital construction, and re-engineered our HVAC to meet CSA Z-8000-18 and other HVAC specification Negative Pressure Airborne Isolation Rooms ( AIIR). We used this technology to create isolation zones in each of our operatories. We didn’t stop there though, and extended the system to provide protection to all other areas, protecting all of our teams and patients, regardless of where they are within the practice. For example, each of our operatories has a containment “bubble” engineered around it. Air is forced down from the roof, using positive pressure, forming the outer walls of the containment “bubble”. This contains the airborne pathogens created in the operatory from floating away, as well as keeping airborne pathogens created outside of the bubble from floating into the operatory. Then, positioned over each patient, approximately 7 feet from the floor, is a 12ACH negative pressure intake, which draws air in, removing quickly any airborne pathogens, protecting team and patient alike. This air is then HEPA-filtered and safely exhausted on the roof. It runs 24/7.
Clean Air, we Care!
Many facilities purport to provide negative pressure to their patients or customers, and this will only increase as awareness of the issue becomes more prevalent in community discussion, however if the system that they have installed has not been engineered, installed, balanced, and tested to CSA guidelines, it may not be providing you with the actual protections that proper systems, like ours, are designed to provide.
Here’s a great article from the Toronto Star that explains how Negative Pressure can help battle COVID-19 Pandemic.
A dental practice is not much different than any other indoor setting.
And, like these settings, “bugs” and “germs” are transmitted in three basic ways, either via aerosol (airborne), droplet (sneeze or cough) or contact transmission.
Aerosol – very small particles of water, suspended or floating in the air, carrying pathogens with them. This is often described as “airborne” transmission. Aerosolized pathogens can stay in the air for 30-minutes or more, and move around from place to place. You can become infected when you breathe them in as you walk through the “cloud”.
Droplet – a cough or a sneeze, or someone talking “moistly” (sorry Mr. Prime Minister, couldn’t resist). Droplets are ejected from one person’s respiratory system, into another person’s respiratory system.
Contact – When droplets or aerosolized particles land on a surface, a table, or door handle, and are touched by someone else and picked up. Transmission occurs when this person touches their face, or eyes.
As most dental procedures can be classified as aerosol generating medical procedures (AGMP), aerosol risk is more seriously considered in a dental practice setting than versus other indoor settings.
No. Aerosols have been present in dental practices, and considered by dentists for many years. Dentists are highly skilled infection control experts, and are trained to take steps to protect themselves, their patients and the public from this risk. In Canada, dentists have very robust infection control and sterilization protocols running all of the time, not just during COVID-19 Pandemic, and the College of Dental Surgeons of BC (CDSBC), provides training, guidance and oversight, holding dentists accountable to these standards of practice.
COVID-19 did however provide clinicians and the public alike with a stark reminder of the additional aerosol risk beyond the everyday, and beyond the average indoor setting, that is present everyday in a dental practice. Hand tools, suction, irrigation, and the use of them in causes most dental procedures to be classified as Aerosol Generating Medical Procedures (AGMP). This means that the small droplets of saliva and blood present in a patient’s mouth are “aerosolized” and ejected into the air. We deploy several precautions to reduce and eliminate this risk, with some examples being our Airborne Infection Isolation Room system, High Volume Evacuation all procedures, dental dams and more.
Please feel free to contact us via email anytime at [email protected] or, starting May 7th, by telephone at (778) 484-2256. Every question is a good one and we appreciate the opportunity to give you an answer.