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Your dentist has certain protocols in place to protect your health and the health of others in the office.

In-Office Standards and Your Actions Play Key Roles in Preventing Infection

Similar to any other medical setting, there are a variety of rules in place in your dental office for infection control. While your dentist can give you specific information about recovering from your treatment, there are some general guidelines you can follow to prevent infection from occurring. Keep in mind that once an infection begins, it can easily spread to other areas of your body. Infection control is crucial to both your oral and overall health after a dental procedure or oral surgery.

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Standard Precautions for Infection Control

The Center for Disease Control (CDC) has certain guidelines in place that apply to all patient care in all settings where health care is provided. These infection prevention practices help keep everyone involved safe from health issues.

According to the CDC, standard precautions include:

  • Hand washing
  • Wearing protective equipment, such as gloves, masks, and eyewear
  • Good cough etiquette
  • Safe injection techniques
  • Work practice controls for sharps safety
  • Sterile instruments and devices
  • Clean and disinfected surfaces

The CDC also requires that dental unit waterlines use water that meets drinking water standards and are regularly cleaned to prevent buildup. These methods represent the baseline your dentist must meet to control infection within their practice.

At-Home Care For Preventing Infection

Infection after a dental procedure is rare, especially when you follow proper steps for preventing infection. After your procedure, your dentist will provide you with specific post-operative instructions based on the type of treatment you received. Your oral health is dependent on how well you follow these directions. Some general tips for avoiding infection include:

Manage bleeding with gauze

You may experience some bleeding after a dental operation. Elevating your head and biting gently on damp gauze can help your body form a clot and speed the healing process.

Take all prescribed medications

Your dentist may prescribe antibiotics, painkillers, or another type of medication. It is important to take them exactly as prescribed and not stop prematurely.

Get plenty of rest

In general, patients should rest and avoid strenuous physical activity for a couple of days after surgery. 

Care for your sutures

Depending on the type of procedure you receive, you may have sutures placed and require a second trip to the dentist to remove them. Avoid chewing on your sutures or eating popcorn or foods with small seeds, as these can become lodged in the sutures.

Avoid smoking or the use of other tobacco products

Tobacco inhibits your body’s natural healing process and can cause a painful condition known as dry socket.  Until the surgical area has completely healed, avoid smoking or using chewing tobacco.

Maintain Your Oral Hygiene

Unless your dentist tells you otherwise, you should gently brush and floss following your surgery. In some cases, your dentist may recommend using a salt water rinse to dislodge any food particles and help your surgical site heal properly.

Some swelling and minor bleeding is normal after a dental procedure. However, if these conditions persist, you should contact your dentist.

Warning Signs Of An Infection

Keep an eye on your oral health in the days following your procedure. There are several symptoms you can look out for if you are concerned about an infection, such as:

  • Increased pain three to four days following surgery
  • A fever of over 101 degrees Fahrenheit
  • Pus developing in the surgical site
  • Increased swelling of the face, jaw, or gums three to four days after surgery
  • Issues opening or moving your jaw
  • Prolonged bleeding

Charleston Center for Cosmetic and Restorative Dentistry

Dr. John F. Rink is committed to personalized excellence in every smile. He has been practicing for over 20 years and is a member of the:

  • American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry
  • American Dental Association
  • South Carolina Dental Association
  • Pankey Institute

To learn more about our services or schedule a consultation, reach our practice online or call (843) 806-3972.

Report Distressing Symptoms

Keep in mind that some degree of swelling, bleeding, and pain is normal. Your dentist can explain what to expect after your specific procedure. However, if symptoms seem excessive in any way, contact your dentist immediately. They can assess your oral health and determine if an infection is present.

Practice Policy Update Regarding COVID-19 View Update

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To Our Wonderful Family of Patients:

Last night, my wife Connie and I enjoyed the most delicious take-out dinner from FIG restaurant. As always, the food was excellent; however, it was most satisfying to see the local restaurant, along with others, begin its comeback. Our resilient city feels like it is coming back to life—parks are opening and folks and families are enjoying the wonderful spring Charleston air. The Rink dental team is, too, readying itself for the next chapter of practicing dentistry as the community begins reopening its doors.

We are concentrating on continuing to advance our rock-solid foundation of state-of-the-art infection control. We were blessed to keep our dedicated and passionate team employed during the crisis, and have devoted the entire month of April to research, systematically developing, purchasing and installing the best additional infection control protocols and equipment available. We are ready. This month we will begin the process of a “soft opening” of our practice. What this means for our patients is a resumption of the same excellent restorative, esthetic, and preventive care in the safest and most secure environment available anywhere.

Additional safety steps will include asking our patients to wait for their appointments in their cars rather than in the reception area. We will ask that you take a moment to fill out a short questionnaire upon your arrival regarding your health and recent travels. We will take everyone’s temperature (including the team) with a forehead scanner as you enter the practice. We will clean and disinfect all touchpoints in the office in between each patient. We have procured the highest quality KN95 masks and face shields for the staff and have carefully researched and purchased the most advanced aerosol containment and purification systems available for the safety of all our patients. These are a few examples of how we have added additional layers of protection for your and our staff’s benefit.

Finally, I wholly understand that each one of you is an individual with specific desires, needs, and comfort levels. I want you to know that we are here to actively listen to you and to create the best environment for your emotional health. Some will be ready sooner than others to receive care again at our office. Let’s keep the lines of communication open and please know that our relationship with you and your family is our highest priority.

We look forward to reuniting with everyone but until that time it is our wish that you enjoy good health, good spirits, and peace.

To your optimal dental health,

- John F. Rink, DDS, AAACD and team

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