Things will change once we start treating patients like "normal" again. I can be assured of this. There might even be updated OSHA regulations, or we'll at least adhere to the existing regulations much more closely. Pre-rinsing is one aspect of every patient visit that will remain constant. Despite the fact that we were all taught to do this in school and that we should all be doing it, less than 20% of the people I contacted (I contacted 25 friends) pre-rinsed prior to the Covid-19 pandemic. If you're still not convinced, ask yourself if you pre-rinsed everyone. I predict that the answer is no, but I'm fairly confident that after the pandemic, that will be near 100%.
Some of the most hazardous contaminant transmitters in the dental office are dental aerosols. During an appointment, secretions from the nose, throat, and blood can all get aerosolized. These aerosols, which contain bacteria, viruses, and fungus, can be inhaled more than once, land on surfaces, and persist in the air. According to studies, pollutants can spread approximately 30 feet and may even be found on surfaces that aren't being used at the time of a dental treatment. The amount of germs, viruses, and fungi that are expelled from the mouth as aerosols should be reduced or eliminated. Chlorhexidine or another widely accessible over-the-counter product has been utilized by many pre-rinsing offices; this is preferable to doing nothing. However, these medications are only effective against bacteria and have no effect on viruses or fungi. The decrease in viruses is essential to protecting ourselves and our patients, as recent occurrences have brought to our attention. You must find a pre-rinse that is efficient against each of these infections, particularly viruses, if you want to lower the danger.
Few chemical substances can match the oxidizing strength of chlorine dioxide when it comes to killing bacteria, fungus, and viruses. It has a long history of use, is effective against bacteria, viruses, and fungi, and is applied to various industries to dissolve biofilm. Unexpectedly, it is a gas that water treatment plants have long employed to keep drinking water safe. In the aftermath of anthrax attacks, it has also been used to disinfect buildings and post-harvest food. Because chlorine dioxide has a distinct and superior method of eliminating bacteria compared to other disinfectants, it is used in each of these instances. As a virucide, it stands out in particular as being superior to many other products. Activated chlorine dioxide is often regarded as the perfect pre-rinse by dental practitioners. Many dental clinics now include it in their daily routine of personal preventive measures due to its efficiency in killing not only bacteria but also viruses and fungi.
Stabilized chlorine dioxide is something to be on the lookout for. You might believe you are receiving all of these advantages when you are not, since this is not genuine chlorine dioxide. Unfortunately, the term "stabilized chlorine dioxide" is incorrectly used to refer to sodium chlorite, a salt, whereas in fact the compound is stabilized chlorine dioxide. The term "stabilized" seeks to designate a formulation with qualities chemically equivalent to or similar to activated chlorine dioxide. They are remarkably dissimilar. By buffering sodium chlorite with carbonate, phosphate, and hydrogen peroxide, stabilized chlorine dioxide is created. In actuality, this method stabilizes chlorite rather than chlorine dioxide. The stabilized substance differs from chlorine dioxide and does not possess the same oxidizing qualities. The chemical is substantially less effective as a product in general and has a much lower oxidizing potential. Since it would be difficult to hold the gas in a single bottle, genuine chlorine dioxide must be mixed every time before use. Activated chlorine dioxide is the gas that is produced when those two liquids combine.
The active components in OraCare include xylitol and activated chlorine dioxide. Patients can use it for a variety of conditions, such as oral sores, dry mouth, foul breath, periodontitis, and bleeding gums. In-office usage includes irrigation and pre/post rinsing. OraCare can safeguard you as a dental professional in addition to assisting with oral health improvement. The moment has come to examine our daily defensive measures critically. In truth, we are always at risk, and pre-rinsing is a crucial step in ensuring our safety.
Kristin Goodfellow RDH
Kristin is Chief Clinical Officer of OraCare, a practicing Registered Dental Hygienist