Health & Safety

June 21, 2013

Dental clinic here provides dental health services, follows safe practices

From left, Vanessa Martin, dental assistant, and Col. Kraig Kenny, Runion Dental Clinic deputy commander, perform a tooth-filling procedure. The clinic employs around 45 staff members who all receive training in sterilization procedures and infection control when it comes to using tools like the ones pictured in the foreground.

In recent years, many studies have come out linking oral health to overall health. According to Col. Kendall Ray, Runion Dental Clinic dentist, there is truth to these studies.

“The mouth is like a mirror to the body,” he said, explaining that the healthier people keep their mouths, the healthier their bodies will also be.

The Runion Dental Clinic, or RDC, can help all permanent party service members achieve oral health with the many services it offers. Besides regular exams, cleanings and fillings, RDC can assist patients with any dental need, with the exception of orthodontics. Examples of provided services include removing wisdom teeth, prosthodontics, periodontal work and root canals.

RDC’s mission statement says RDC provides “oral healthcare with an exceptional team of professionals that are dedicated to excellence,” and dental personnel want patients to know nothing has changed.

Col. Kraig Kenny, RDC deputy commander, discussed recent media reports about the possible spread of disease and a profound lack of infection control in an oral surgery practice in Tulsa, Okla. He advised that the U.S. Army Dental Command and RDC take the issue seriously and stated, “Strict standards in procedures, training and oversight in infection control have long been required by regulation and policy.”

Ray added that RDC adheres to the guidelines of the Occupational Safety & Health Administration, World Health Organization and Center for Disease Control, along with their recommendations.

“We adhere to actually to a higher standard than is recommended,” Ray said. “Our infection control standards are meticulous here.”

RDC follows a number of measures to ensure patient and staff safety from the spread of infectious disease, according to Kenny, who shared them.

All non-disposable instruments are sterilized in steam, or heat autoclaves [sterilizers] after use. These same instruments also pass through a thermal disinfection process prior to being autoclaved. Biologic monitoring is conducted on a weekly basis for all autoclaves. This laboratory testing makes sure that tough-to-kill bacteria are in fact killed by the autoclave process.

No needles, IV lines or scalpels are reused because they are disposable items. RDC staff appropriately wears gloves, masks and other protective equipment to stop the spread of infectious disease.

In addition, all staff members undergo annual training concerning sterilization procedures and infection control. Recently-hired staff members undergo this training as part of their new employee orientation.

Kenny explained that patients at RDC are encouraged to ask questions concerning infection control or to raise issues of concern.

For more information or to schedule an appointment, call 533.3147/3447.




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