Infectious Disease Screening at Pi Dental Center

The doctors and staff at Pi Dental Center are committed to keeping our patients safe and healthy by following the most efficient and up-to-date practices for infection control and by informing you about Ebola recommendations provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Organization for Safety, Asepsis and Prevention (OSAP) and the ADA in regard to dental office practices.

The World Health Organization has called this the deadliest outbreak of Ebola in history. The disease has claimed 4555 lives as of October 20th, 2014. More than 9216 people have been diagnosed which has the virus, with a very high fatality rate.

A person infected with Ebola is not considered contagious until symptoms appear. The CDC and ADA advise dental offices to take a medical history, including a travel history from patients with symptoms in which a viral infection is suspected.

The ADA states that any person returning from West African countries Liberia, Sierra Leone or Guinea may be at risk of having come in contact with persons infected with Ebola and may not exhibit symptoms. If this is the case, dental professionals are advised to delay routine dental care of the patient until 21 days have elapsed after their trip. Palliative care for serious oral health conditions, dental infections and pain will be provided after consulting with the patient’s physician and conforming to standard precautions and physical barriers.

The most common signs and symptoms of Ebola infection are: 

  • fever (greater than 38.6°C or 101.5°F) and severe headache

  • muscle pain

  • vomiting

  • diarrhea

  • stomach pain or unexplained bleeding or bruising

During each visit to our office, you will be asked the following questions

Have you visited the West African countries of Liberia, Sierra Leone and/or Guinea in the last 21 days?

Are you experiencing any fever greater than 101.5, muscle pain, vomiting, diarrhea, stomach pain and/or unexplained bleeding or bruising? 

We have been advised not to treat patients who manifest symptoms of Ebola. For recent West African travelers presenting with fevers:

  • Protect ourselves by using standard precautions with physical barriers (gowns, masks, face protection, and gloves)

  • Call 911 on behalf of the patient immediately

  • Notify the appropriate state or local health department authorities

  • Ask the health department to provide us with the most up-to-date guidance on removing and disposing of potentially contaminated materials and equipment, including the physical barriers. 

The Ebola virus is spread through direct contact (through broken skin or mucous membranes) with blood and body fluids (urine, feces, saliva, vomit and semen) of a person who is sick with Ebola, or with objects (like needles) that have been contaminated with the virus. Ebola is not spread through the air or by water or, in general, by food.

The Ebola virus is not the only contagious disease that can cross the dental office threshold, but this health threat reminds all of us in the dental profession that we need to be exceedingly vigilant in following sterilization protocols, maximizing communications, and fastidiously documenting patient records.

Pi Dental Center schedules frequent refresher training for employees to ensure all defined sterilization and safety practices are being followed precisely.  Correct removal of masks, gowns and other personal barrier gear is essential.

Andrea Clendaniel, Osha Coordinator for Pi Dental Center, states, “Ebola should be taken very seriously as all infectious diseases, should be viewed.  A slight oversight could have catastrophic outcomes.  Many of our patients have lower resistance to disease due to compromised health and can become much sicker than the general public.  This is one reason why we must take the highest precautions by enforcing the sterilization protocols.” Andrea goes on to explain, “Taking the same high level of safety precaution with every patient enables us to keep all of them safe.”

Thank you for your cooperation with our additional screening procedures!

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Pi Dental Center, Fort Washington, PA